Two-dozen kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove stayed after school at Post Elementary the other day to decorate holiday cards and cookies for some local celebrities.
“I believe you are awsom,” read one card that was covered in glue and silvers sparkles. “Sorry if I speld something wrong.”
Garden Grove PD Sgt. John Reynolds couldn’t be more delighted. It’s not every day that a police officer shows up to cheers and high-fives and requests for an autograph.
“It’s overwhelming, to be honest,” he said. “To see this kind of warmth extended by these young people.”
The event was part of the Boys & Girls Club of America’s 12 Days of Giving, a nationwide service-project campaign that kicked off Dec. 1.
Kids in the club’s Post Elementary unit chose to dedicate one of their 12 Days of Giving to the Garden Grove Police Department, said Tricia Mathis, director of marketing for Boys & Girls Club Garden Grove.
Even though the school is in the city of Westminster, the GGPD patrols it. Reynolds and five other GGPD school resource officers attended.
“I’m making this for the police because they’ve been protecting our city,” fourth grader A’aliyah Valencia explained while working on a cookie at a picnic table on the playground.
“They do everything,” added 9-year-old Marilyn Garcia. “They rescue cats and dogs. And people.”
Reynolds arrived blowing chewing gum bubbles. He and five other officers shook hands and signed autographs.
“In my heart, it makes me so happy to see everyone here,” he told the kids.
The kids presented the officers with platters of heavily decorated sugar cookies in the shape of stars and Christmas trees and cards of appreciation.
“Thank you police men and women,” read one card.
Asked how many of them wanted to be police officers when they grew up, 13 of the 20 of the students raised their hands.
Beyond the obvious plus of scoring some cookies, Reynolds said he was grateful for the opportunity to score some time with the kids.
“It’s a chance for us to come and have that human experience with them so they can see we’re real and let them know that were all in this together,” he said. “Especially considering the recent tragedies.”