Mayor Rybak, Children’s Hospitals CEO Goldbloom Announce Support for Expansion of Bike Cops for Kids to South Minneapolis
In new sign of commitment to reducing youth violence and injury, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota’s partnership will double free helmets distributed this summer
Support announced during National Youth Violence Prevention Week, marking success of Minneapolis Blueprint to Prevent Youth Violence
March 24, 2011 (MINNEAPOLIS) —At an event during National Youth Violence Prevention Week, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and President and CEO of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota Alan L. Goldbloom, M.D., today announced that Children’s is supporting the expansion of the City of Minneapolis’ Bike Cops for Kids to three new South Minneapolis neighborhoods this summer. Their support will allow Bike Cops for Kids to double the number of free bike helmets distributed this summer.
Childrens Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesotas support is another sign of its commitment to promoting safety and injury prevention for children across the Twin Cities community, and specifically for youth at risk of violence in the neighborhoods around their Minneapolis campus. Minneapolis is observing National Youth Violence Prevention Week by celebrating the Blueprint to Prevent Youth Violence, a multi-faceted, multi-year action plan to attack the core issues behind the violence being inflicted on and by young people in Minneapolis. Mayor Rybak and Dr. Goldbloom were joined by representatives of the Minneapolis Public Schools and the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, who are partners in the City’s efforts to reduce youth violence.
In the wake of an outbreak of youth-driven violence several years ago, Mayor Rybak and other city and community leaders launched the Blueprint with the premise that youth violence is a public-health epidemic, like polio or smoking, which can be prevented. As a result of long-term coordinated efforts among a wide array of partners, youth violence in Minneapolis has fallen sharply: since 2006, the number of youth suspects in violent crime has declined 62%, and the number of youth arrested for violent crime has declined 52%.
"We are proud to partner with Mayor Rybak and the Bike Cops for Kids Program to expand their presence into the South Minneapolis neighborhoods where we have grown and where we strive to serve at-risk youth," said Dr. Alan L. Goldbloom. "This program provides an excellent opportunity for police officers to build positive relationships with kids and teens, while encouraging safe, physical activity during the summer."
Between their Minneapolis and Saint Paul campuses, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota operate the seventh-busiest pediatric-emergency department in America. They are working to build Minnesota’s first Level 1 pediatric trauma center inside a children’s hospital.
"While America is turning its attention to youth-violence prevention this week, here in Minneapolis, we have been laser-focused on it for the past several years," said Mayor R.T. Rybak, who is a co-chair and co-founder of Minneapolis’ Youth Violence Prevention Committee. "Working through the Blueprint with an outstanding set of partners, we have made great strides in showing that a comprehensive, public-health approach to reducing youth violence works."
Mayor Rybak continued, "I’m very grateful to Dr. Goldbloom and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, as well as to Superintendent Johnson and Minneapolis Public Schools, for their partnership with us on innovative Bike Cops for Kids Program. And I’m proud of the success that Officers Mike Kirchen and Mark Klukow have had in building Bike Cops for Kids from the ground up. These officers have touched the lives of thousands of youth and their families in ways that most of us will never know, and have kept all of us much safer in the process. Our community owes them a great debt of gratitude."
Mayor Rybak also announced the release of a toolkit of activities aimed at helping youth, families and community partners reduce youth violence.
Minneapolis Public Schools are important partners in the efforts to reduce youth violence. The Bike Cops for Kids officers are Minneapolis police who serve during the school year as School Resource Officers in the Minneapolis Public Schools, where their main focus is building positive relationships with at-risk youth, their teachers and parents.
Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Bernadeia Johnson praised the partnerships. "We greatly value our partnerships with the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Police Department, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation and various community agencies, which provide a seamless safety link between our schools and our city. By collaborating, we are promoting the safety, well-being and success of our city’s children, regardless of whether they are at school, at home or in the community."
Another year-round partner in youth-violence prevention is the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. During the summer, Bike Cops for Kids work closely with Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board staff, including StreetReach outreach workers, to help keep youth safe. Sherenia Gibbs, Youthline StreetReach coordinator of the Minneapolis Parks, spoke about the parks’ collaboration with the Bike Cops, the schools, the City and other partners in keeping youth safe and preventing violence to and by youth.
Bike Cops for Kids help reduce youth violence by connecting youth with a trusted adult, which is one of the four goals of the Blueprint. The fast-growing Bike Cops for Kids initiative puts veteran Minneapolis Police officers, who serve in Minneapolis Public Schools during the school year, on bikes in the summer to engage with youth. The officers distribute free bike helmets as a unique way to connect one-on-one with youth, families and neighbors, and also distribute free bikes to youth who wear their helmets.
Bike Cops for Kids began in 2009 with two officers on the North Side. In 2011, eight officers will work on the North Side, in Northeast Minneapolis and in the Phillips, Lyndale, Central and CARAG neighborhoods of South Minneapolis. Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota is located in and already deeply engaged in the Phillips neighborhood.
Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota’s support will allow Bike Cops for Kids officers to increase the number of free helmets distributed from 720 in 2010 to 1,440 in 2011 and the number of free bikes from 62 to 70. The Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children and the Phillips Family Foundation have also provided major funding for helmets and bikes since the inception of Bike Cops for Kids, and continue to help fund helmets in 2011.
Published Mar. 24, 2011