Hollywood Police Department paraded 17 police vehicles – cruisers, SUVs and SWAT vehicles with flashing lights and sirens screaming and whooping – to surprise Little Brothers and Sisters, who officers mentor as part of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bigs in Blue initiative.
The officers organized and participated in the parade to reconnect and have fun with their Littles during this period of COVID-19.
“The parade was a great opportunity for our officers to interact with our Littles during this time of pandemic,” said Hollywood Police Department Major Derik Alexander, a Big Brother to Dwayne.
“With all the scary things they’ve seen on television, they saw that police were still out and keeping them safe. They also had the opportunity to see their Big and interact with them. Just the human interaction, physical presence and smiles were enough to warm my heart. The Hollywood Police Department’s collaboration with Bigs in Blue to host this police parade was just fantastic.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward President and CEO Ana Cedeno, couldn’t have agreed more.
“The officers at the Hollywood Police Department truly went above and beyond to connect with their Littles in a ‘Big’ way,” said Cedeno. “We’re so grateful to Major Alexander and Sergeant Selina Hightower for putting together this super-fun police parade. It was really exciting, and the kids just loved it.”
The youth at the event were joyfully surprised to see the parade of loud vehicles, and all the Bigs and Littles were happy to reconnect. Major Alexander was particularly pleased to see his Little Brother.
“Dwayne is a very smart young man,” said Major Alexander. “He’s a joy to mentor, and we share life and fun together. What an awesome way to relieve stress, bring joy to a young person and keep them engaged with life in general. I look forward to more and more interaction as the pandemic subsides, and we are allowed to go back to a sense of normalcy.”
The Littles, their siblings and parents gathered at the Sheridan Street Tri-Rail Station parking lot awaiting a surprise without knowing any details. The loud and boisterous police parade delighted everyone in attendance. After the initial surprise, the 9- and 10 year-olds and their siblings received goody bags from the officers and had a chance to say hello face-to-face after many weeks.
Bigs in Blue, a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County one-to-one mentoring initiative, pairs youth with police officers to help children develop into confident adults while building stronger bonds between law enforcement and the families they serve. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County is dedicated to creating and supporting one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Its larger vision is for all youth to achieve their full potential. For more information, visit www.bbbsbroward.org or call (954) 584-9990.