Adopt the Cops ‘n’ Kids Program: Steps for Getting Started
Cops ‘n’ Kids provides children with access to literacy, but also helps members of the police force develop positive relationships with those children and the community. To achieve these goals, Cops ‘n’ Kids programs have:
- Opened a reading room where students can pick out books, read quietly, and hear volunteers read aloud to them.
- Kept children’s books in police cars to distribute to children as they see them or to share with children in domestic situations.
- Maintained donation centers so that neighborhood kids can come by to pick up books.
- Visited schools and other community centers to read aloud to children.
How Can You Adopt this Program?
Find out if there’s a Cops ‘n’ Kids program in your area. If there is, ask what opportunities they have for you to get involved. These may include collecting, sorting, and distributing books, reading to children, and fund-raising. If you feel that there are other ways you can help, let them know.
If there’s not a program in your community, you can:
- Approach the local police force about establishing the program.
- Partner with other organizations to achieve similar goals.
- Adapt the program so your club can run it on its own.
What Are the Steps to Getting Started?
Come up with a plan of action.
You’ll need to know what you’re doing before pitching your idea to the people who you’ll need to support you. Before sharing your plans, you should be able to answer the following questions:
What will your program do?
Focus on clear goals, like collecting and distributing a certain number of books, opening a book distribution center, or holding a book giveaway at a local community center. It’s better to start simple at the beginning, and add ideas as you succeed.
What roles do you see the police force and other organizations playing?
It’s important to make clear to those to whom you pitch the program precisely how they’ll play a part-and why doing so is a benefit to them! This is a great way to develop a strong public image. Consider the above list of ways police forces have been involved in the past as you determine how to involve them.
Where will you get your books?
Consider the many different sources. Along with book drives in schools and churches, you can set up donation bins in public areas. Past clubs have received significant donations from local bookstores and large corporations with generous donation policies (like Coca-Cola and Barnes and Noble) as well as publishing presses.
Where will you store the books?
You’ll need to find a dry, safe place to keep a lot of books! In the past, club members have used their own homes, rented storage space, or solicited space donations from local businesses.
How will you make the public aware of the program?
This is crucial for collecting books and for sharing Quota’s mission. In the past, clubs have used local media (radio and newspaper) and posters and signs posted throughout the community. Consider connecting with area organizations, schools, churches, and businesses to ask if you can speak to their members.
How will you support the program on an ongoing basis?
Consider how you will ensure that you have a sufficient influx of books, and individuals to distribute them, over time. This should be a diverse and long-term plan that can include: book drives, donations from large corporations, and fund-raisers to purchase books as well as the involvement of other volunteers to ensure that you have sufficient staffing to keep the program running.
Pitch the program to the relevant people.
Once you’ve decided what the program will look like, seek out the individuals and organizations you’ll need to make it happen. Make clear to them what a valuable opportunity this is, and be prepared to answer all their questions so they know you’re serious about the program. Be flexible and willing to cooperate. For more tips on collaborating with other community organizations, click here.
Establish a timeline and consistent communications.
Work with your partners to solidify the program. Assign roles and be sure to cover all important tasks, including publicity, correspondence (solicitations and thank-you’s), public relations, etc. Communicate with them consistently about every issue and make sure that the goals and expectations for all are clear. For more publicity tips and to view or print a copy of Quota International’s free Publicity Pointers Kit, click here*.
Keep Quota International informed!
When your program is up and running, please contact our staff to let them know how your club is implementing the Cops ‘n’ Kids Literacy Program. We welcome photographs along with your reports. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your information to Quota International, 1420 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. If you have any questions, please telephone at (202)331-9694.
How Two Clubs Began the Adventure!
“Cops ‘n’ Kids is a great program, but it sounds complicated. How do we get started?” The Quota International clubs in Orrville, Ohio, U.S.A., and Jimboomba, Queensland, Australia, can help to answer that question. Each club took a different approach to introduce the program, and both have become recognized as contributors to their communities through the Cops ‘n’ Kids program.
Quota of Orrville, a small club of just six members, began by looking at what programs were already in place in their community. They wanted to fit Cops ‘n’ Kids in with any programs already established and fill voids where they found them. Quota members decided to be active participants in any way they could, while focusing on the Cops ‘n’ Kids goals of literacy and the importance of the cooperation of local police and other community officials. Cops ‘n’ Kids became a visible presence at both Quota events and established community events in Orrville and neighboring Dalton, such as:
- Holding a program to introduce Cops ‘n’ Kids at a local church with a police officer as a guest speaker. The children who attended were given books and bookmarks.
- Quota participation in the annual community holiday food drive, giving both a monetary donation and over 300 books for distribution.
- Quota assistance with the Shop with a Cop program, where local firefighters, public officials, and police officers take children shopping for holiday gifts for family and friends. Quota members helped the children with wrapping their gifts and gave them a book and bookmark from Cops ‘n’ Kids.
- Partnering with the Orrville Public Library for story hours and distribution of books to children.
- Holding a spring “Pictures with the Easter Bunny” event in conjunction with the local Chamber of Commerce, another opportunity to distribute books to children.
- Giving out Cops ‘n’ Kids items and contact information at the 4th of July community parade.
- Distributing books and fingerprint kits, along with the Dalton Police Department, at “Dalton Days in the Park.”
- Using a $1,000 Worthy Works award given to Quota from the local Chamber of Commerce to sponsor a bike safety helmet assembly for first graders at Orville Elementary School.
The Orrville Cops ‘n’ Kids program continues to encourage relationships between children and community leaders while promoting literacy at a variety of events. As a bonus, the program has revitalized the Quota club of Orrville, keeping its members focused and excited about the many ways in which they can help. Quota cooperation with officials and other groups is well publicized, and Quota of Orrville is getting better known in the community.
Across the world in Queensland, Australia, the District 30 governor heard about the success of Cops ‘n’ Kids in the United States at International Convention and enthusiastically took the idea of the program back to her district. From the beginning, Australian Quotarians made the program their own, using the Australian adaptation of the name “Quota Cops ‘n’ Kids Reading Together.” Known as “QuoCKa Reading,” the title plays on the name of quokkas, furry marsupials native to Australia. The Jimboomba Quota club set out to introduce “QuoCKa” to their community as a new program.
Because it was an unfamiliar program in the community, Jimboomba Quotarians set it up initially in just one school, planning to expand to other schools in the community as the program grew. Their concentration has been on using the QuoCKa program for reading in the schools, as well as for emphasizing the supportive presence of the police. A police officer is scheduled each week to read to a group of five children, and gives a book to each child in the group. The child presents a second copy of the book to the school teacher or librarian. With different groups being read to each week throughout the year, an expanding number of children receive attention and many books are donated to the classroom libraries during the year.
South Pacific Area leaders have actively encouraged other Australia clubs to participate in this successful literacy program. Though adjustments must sometimes be made in the program due to the needs of each school or club, and for budgeting reasons, the program remains true to its mission of systematically spreading books and reading through the schools. In Jimboomba, the local community has taken note of Quota’s contribution, and the club recently received a $1,000 contribution from the Mayor’s and Councillor’s Community Benefit Fund, designated for the QuoCKa program
Whether fitting into a community already busy with many events or beginning a pilot program in one school to support reading, Quota’s Cops ‘n’ Kids programs make an impact. As the Cops ‘n’ Kids program is adopted by other clubs in diverse areas, each one will put its own stamp on this adaptable program. The common bond will be continuing Quota’s caring mission, for the benefit of the children and with the help of the police and wider community, wherever that may be.
QI of Bethlehem’s Program Overview
The Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Quota club is perhaps Quota’s biggest Cops ‘n’ Kids success story. The club has distributed over 400,000 books to children, created a reading room, welcomed partners from all segments of the community, received extensive local and state publicity, received an invitation to a United Nations event, and been honored with many awards. Read a summary of their program—a document outlining their mission, strategy, activities, and more—their guide to success!
- How Quota Supports Cops ‘n’ Kids
- Reasons for Launching Cops ‘n’ Kids in Your Quota Community
- Expanding Your Cops ‘n’ Kids Program
- Return to the Cops ‘n’ Kids Literacy Program Home Page
*To view or print out this document, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. Go to Adobe’s Web site and download a free copy of Acrobat Reader.
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