Another very notable award from our ceremony last Thursday - the Meritorious Service Award for Officer Ann Murphy (she's in the back row on the right). Please take the time to read the below and see what an amazing impact she is having on youth in our community:
While Officer Ann Murphy is dedicated to her work in the Research and Development Division, it’s what she does outside of the office that is making such a difference for vulnerable Kansas City youth.
In 2011, she and a teacher worked together to develop Youth RISE, which stands for resilience, influence, support and education. It’s a volunteer youth mentorship program that uses soccer to connect with at-risk, urban-core youth between the ages of 10 and 23. Many of the children and young adults are refugees. They come from 20 different countries, from Tanzania to Thailand and Guatemala to Iraq. Because of their socioeconomic situations, most of them wouldn’t be able to play competitive soccer at a high level. With Youth RISE, they can and do.
Officer Murphy, a semi-professional soccer player, organizes four different Youth RISE teams and practices with them 4 to 8 hours a week, year-round. She spends another 6-10 hours a week at competitions and tournaments and driving the players to and from games. She even takes them to national, out-of-state tournaments where they have the opportunity to be scouted by college coaches. Selflessly and with little sleep, Officer Murphy mentored 120-130 young people last year through teams she coaches at Refugee Youth Association of Northeast Kansas City, Sporting LS Academy, KC Courage High School Girls alternative program, KC Lutheran Varsity Boys Soccer and of course her KC Youth RISE Jaguars.
It’s not just about soccer, either. The kids know Officer Murphy is a police officer who holds them accountable for their grades and for making smart choices. She also attends parent-teacher conferences, helps the youth apply for college and financial aid, takes players to visit college campuses and tutors students and graduates who already are in college. She provides groceries and clothes to players in need and supports families and players who have been victimized by violent crime.
Last year, every single high school senior in the Youth RISE program graduated from high school and were accepted to colleges with scholarships. All but one is now in college.
Officer Murphy won the 2017 National Positive Coaching Alliance Double-Goal Coach Award from out of 2,000 nominees. That award goes to coaches who strive to win while also pursuing the more important goal of pursuing life lessons through sports. Many of the boys have said Officer Murphy is like a second mother to them and a wonderful role model. One parent said, “I love that they have this example of a strong woman who’s a police officer.”