St. George Catholic Elementary Students Learn Life Skills and Build Community with Niagara Regional Police
Rosanne Sandel was at an awards celebration with her husband a year ago, watching officers be lauded for the community-based programs they created, when it suddenly occurred to her: If elementary schools in Toronto and other large centres could have relationships with police, why not in Crystal Beach?
The principal of St. George Catholic Elementary School didn’t have to look far for support. Her husband Sean Sandel is a constable with Niagara Regional Police, and an avid supporter and participant in ProAction Cops and Kids. Together, they designed a plan to bring police into the school on a regular basis. So this spring, Sean Sandel joined his wife and a selected group of students to participate in Cops Cooking with Kids.
The students came from varied backgrounds and experiences: Students from challenging home lives, are financially disadvantaged, have mental health issues and student leaders met every Tuesday and Thursday for a month to talk and cook, learning the value of community along the way.
They began with stone soup – a sort of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink concoction that really symbolized the program. Over the weeks they moved on to make other meals, like burgers, gnocchi (oh, the flour!), pizza and salad and chili.
Here are a few photos of students creating their pizza masterpieces, an article about their experience in Niagara This Week, and a video we created, which includes comments from Principal Sandel, Constable Sandel, and Chief of Police Bryan MacCulloch.
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