EDITORIAL: York City kids have heroes all around them

York Dispatch

It's easy to focus on the difficulties for kids living in York City.

Drugs and the accompanying violence, poverty, a school district that is working with a financial recovery plan.

But there are many people out there who want the children of York City to see that they can have a good life, that things can get better as they grow up.

Today, let's focus on those people.

First up, the brains behind the new program that will teach William Penn High School students about jobs in the public safety sector, from 911 dispatcher to firefighter to probation officer.

Officer Brian Einsig of the York City School Police Department is in charge of the program, which begins when school goes back into session in August and already has 45 students enrolled. 

York City School Police Officer Bryan Einsig shows flyers for the Public Safety and Emergency Services Program he is working on for the York City School District, during an interview in his office at McKinley K-8 Friday, June 8, 2018. Bill Kalina photo

More:York City Schools program teaches teens about public safety jobs

Chief Michael Muldrow said the idea is for students to take three years to learn the basics about a range of public safety jobs while working with local employers in order to make them competitive job seekers as soon as they graduate.

"Those hiring bodies will know their names when they walk through the door," Muldrow said.

At the same time, bringing in students from the urban environment will be helpful for the agencies who will be hiring them, he said. 

Muldrow said he hopes youths going through the program will begin to "change the landscape," with black, Hispanic, Asian, male and female students forming a diverse pool for years to come.

For younger kids, the York City School Police Department is running the S.A.F.E. Camp, July 9-27, for students ages 8-12.

About 50 York City students attended S.A.F.E. Camp in the summer of 2017, according to the York City School District Police, which created and runs the camp at no cost to children or taxpayers.

More:York City School Police need public's help to fund S.A.F.E. Camp

Muldrow and his officers are in charge of this program too, but no taxpayer money is used for it. Instead, donations pay for the free camp, which last year had 50 campers who spent the days exercising, doing community service work and taking on challenges.

The campers also get to have experiences many have never had before, such as visiting a beach in Maryland, touring an Army base and a university campus and going rock climbing and swimming at parks.

This year, Muldrow hopes to have 75 campers, and he wants to take them on a trip to see a play on Broadway in New York.

But even city kids who aren't in the camp can get free entertainment and snacks while watching movies at Kiwanis Lake each Wednesday evening.

"A Wrinkle in Time" stars Storm Reid and Levi Miller. It will be shown July 11 at Kiwanis Lake.

More:York City offers free movies in the summer

And the movie line-up was obviously chosen with city kids in mind. "Black Panther," "Wonder Woman," "Coco," "A Wrinkle in Time," so many of the films show heroes who are African, Latino or female, role models the kids who will be watching them need to see on the screen.

From movie stars to people who care in the street and in their schools, York City kids can see that their lives don't have to be limited by their race, gender or family income. There are real heroes out there who will help them find their dreams and achieve them.