Holiday Heroes: A Gift That Lasts A Lifetime
Every year, the Klein ISD Police Department leads Holiday Heroes, an event where 50 students in need pair up with police officers from Klein ISD Police Department, Spring ISD Police Department, and Harris County Precinct 4 for an entire evening that includes transportation, a Cici’s dinner sponsored by Bridge the Blue, and a $150 shopping spree at Academy Sports + Outdoors for the holidays.
This special evening also included backpacks and other essential items (like, socks!) for each student that were handed out by both Academy and Relate Community Church, so that students could focus on purchasing things they wanted, not just things that they needed.
“This event is all about serving our students who may not otherwise receive some sort of gift for the holidays,” Klein ISD Police Chief David Kimberly said. “It really just shows the spirit and heart of the fine men and women of the Klein ISD Police Department. We will do anything to make sure that this event happens every year.”
For rookie Klein ISD Police Officer Fabiola Beckler, sponsoring a student was a no-brainer.
“Being on my campus, I grew closer to the kids and built relationships with them,” Beckler said. “I have this one student, and she has literally made it to my heart. It makes me feel good to know that she sees me wanting to help her. She even writes me little notes thanking me and – to me – that’s everything.”
When it comes down to the kids, this event means so much more to them than just a chance to shop around.
“Holiday Heroes brings people together,” intermediate student Avery* said. “Some of us need help, or we’ve lost our families. It shows me how happy people can be without being reminded of all the negative things going on in our lives.”
With faithful community partners like Academy, who welcome the opportunity to support our students, Holiday Heroes is always a very special time for everyone involved.
“Kids are our focus,” Academy Store Director Jose DeLeon said. “Whether it’s a donation or an event, if we can give back to kids first, that’s what we do. It’s the core of who we are and what we love. Kids who were a part of this event last year come back to our store and they remembered that we were here for them and that’s why I love being a part of this event.
With grateful and upbeat employees like Academy manager and Klein ISD parent Susan Romero assisting students on their search for their perfect presents, the evening went seamlessly.
“I like working this event every year because, on a personal level, I know how important it is to these kids,” Romero said. “Some of them are lost and some of them are lonely and with this event, it teaches them that someone does care. It’s so cool to see how excited the kids are and it gives them the joy that this season is all about.”
Although tangible gifts are bought during this time, there is one other thing that students receive — the gift of bonding, understanding, and support, all of which will last them a lifetime.
“Something that we’ve figured out very early on is that by partnering every student with a police officer for the entire night — from the bus ride to dinner to shopping — we are able to humanize police officers,” Chief Kimberly said. “With this, our officers have a better understanding of some of the trials and tribulations going on with our students. It’s a really great opportunity for us to break bread and form a bond.”
For every single officer in the Klein ISD Police Department, it’s all about the kids.
“For me and all of KPD, it’s a joyous moment for us,” Klein ISD Police Department Corporal Montoya Jones said. “We are helping students in need, and we’re building a rapport with our students through juvenile and police interaction. We want to make sure that these kids have a good Christmas because some of them don’t have a Christmas at all. Coming into Klein PD, something that I was intrigued by was my Chief’s servant heart. He’s really big on community policing, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
It’s clear that the officers of the Klein ISD Police Department are doing something right.
“When I grow up, I want to be just like Officer Jones,” intermediate student Alyssa* said. “She taught me how to let go of my fears.”
*Student names have been changed to honor their privacy.
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About Klein ISD
Klein ISD is a school district in Klein, Texas located in northwestern Harris County. The district spans approximately 87.5 square miles and serves more than 54,000 students in 33 elementary schools, 10 intermediate campuses, one high school program of choice, and 5 high schools.
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