Posing for photos recently on playground equipment at Peter’s Elementary School in Garden Grove, Kari Flood can’t contain her irrepressible exuberance.
As a Community Service Officer for the Garden Grove PD, Flood not only brightens the days of her colleagues and members of the community, she also has taken her good cheer, and good works, abroad.
For the fifth time, Flood is planning a volunteer mission trip through Kids Around the World Inc., a faith-based, non-profit organization that helps children and families affected by war, poverty, illness and natural disasters.
During her first trip in 2011, Flood helped build a playground in Haiti following the catastrophic earthquake that rocked that country in 2010. The following year, she went on two missions — to Peru and to New Orleans. Flood was back at it this year with a trip to Santiago, Chile, which also included building a skate park and assisting at a surf contest.
“It’s a very humbling and eye-opening experience,” she says of her volunteer work with Kids Around the World. “The reward comes in seeing the kids’ faces while they play on the playground.”
Passionate about her volunteer work, Flood’s currently raising money for a trip to Ecuador in January 2015.
She will be among a team of 30 volunteers who will build a playground in the town of Pillaro.
To offset the cost of the mission to Ecuador, Flood and the team are raising money for Kids Around The World. (To donate, click here or email her at email@example.com. All donations are tax deductible, and also can be sent to Kids Around the World, 2424 Charles St., Rockford, Ill., 61108. Please include her name on the donation).
Active in volunteer work since high school, Flood has found her niche as a Community Service Officer — as well as a regular participant in missions sponsored by Kids Around the World, which she got involved with through Calvary Church in Santa Ana.
“It’s a great way to give back to the community and also to show there are good sides to law enforcement,” says Flood, a Community Service Officer since 2002.
For Flood, who joined the Garden Grove PD in 1999 as a cadet, helping others is just part of her DNA. In her non-sworn position, Flood handles non-emergency calls for service such as burglaries, traffic accidents, vandalisms and stolen cars. She also assists officers at crime scenes by collecting evidence, fingerprints and DNA.
“I love not knowing what each day is going to be like,” says Flood.
While at work, she’s also known to actively involve herself with children, whether it’s playing basketball, soccer or handball or sitting at a desk coloring in a classroom — anything, she says, to bring cheer to kids going through tough times.
“Raising money for Kids Around the World is something I’m very passionate about,” Flood says. “I’m grateful for the opportunity life has to offer.”
In the photo at the top of this story, Kari Flood, Community Service Officer for the Garden Grove Police Department, clowns around on playground equipment at an elementary school. Flood volunteers with Kids Around the World, Inc. to help build playgrounds for children who have been affected by war, poverty, illness and natural disasters. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC