Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 12-12-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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Page 15 of 43

He said he's always seen the value of connecting with the community, going back to his days with the Rhode Island State Police under the example of former Col. Brendan Doherty, and this "pretty simple concept" does just that locally. The idea to establish a new holiday tradition really gained momentum during the department's Thanksgiving food drive, said Tikoian. It was at that event where police decided to create a new event and open it up as a town-wide initiative. "People are very enthusiastic about it," he said. The department has partnered with Mayor Charles Lombardi, Chief John Silva from the North Providence Fire Department, prin- cipals from the elementary schools, and representatives from the Department of Public Works to raise funds for the initiative. "Members of the North Providence Police Department, both officers and civilian support staff alike, have embraced this initiative and are enthusiastically supporting it," said Tikoian. He said he's con- fident the enthusiasm and support displayed in his department has carried into partnering town depart- ments. In addition, Fire Department Local 2334 and Police FOP Lodge 13 have committed to making mon- etary donations to support the drive. Walmart in Cranston has offered to sponsor the event, facilitated through store manager Matthew Poulin. The effort will place an empha- sis on elementary school chil- dren, generally 10 years old and younger. Children will pair up with a police officer, school resource offi- cer, firefighter or EMT or teacher and shop at Walmart on Dec. 17 at 5 p.m. Based on the amount of funding, children will have a prede- termined amount of money to select which toys to purchase. "Our goal is to have police offi- cers, firefighters and teachers shop with children and families who may be living within the margins or fallen on difficult times recently pick out a toy or two or maybe more, hopefully making their Christmas holiday season a bit brighter," said Tikoian. He said there will be 30 children total, or five each from the town's six elementary schools. He said the decision on which children would be selected was left to staff at the schools. "I want to emphasize this is a col- laborative effort. Involving multiple town departments and expanding an event like this from a single agency initiative into a town-wide, multi-agency project fosters a sense of community we all can embrace." Now more than ever, said Tikoian, it's important for police to develop deep relationships with those in the community. Most people only ever call an officer when they're in trouble, he said, but the relationship should be so much more than that. "You never call the mechanic to say my car's running great," he said. It's incumbent on police to make sure residents have positive interac- tions with those who protect their safety, he said, which is why he places such an emphasis on commu- nity policing. Police are in the process, with the cooperation of the North Providence Fire Department, of landing the Providence Fire Canteen for the event, providing hot chocolate and snacks for the children. With some luck and prop- er scheduling, there may also be a surprise visit from Santa. "I'm hopeful 'Operation Be Claus We Care' not only provides some holiday cheer and brightens the Christmas Holiday Season for our residents, but also displays, 'real' community involvement on the ground level from those in the pub- lic safety, educational and municipal service sectors of our town," said Tikoian. 16 NORTH PROVIDENCE DECEMBER 12-18, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION SHOPPING From Page One On Dec. 5, Planet Fitness celebrated the opening of its new North Providence club at 1920 Mineral Spring Ave. The evening was open to the community and featured plenty of festivities, including SANTA CLAUS stepping on the treadmill for an honorary walk. Children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island also joined for the event and took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony with local commu- nity leaders including MAYOR CHARLES LOMBARDI, and GARY REBELO, presi- dent and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island. Pictured here are members of the Boys & Girls Clubs receiving a $1,000 check from Planet Fitness. Santa visits gym opening The North Providence Breeze owners urge you to "Think outside the big box." Buy local! Thanks for your support!

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