Chicago cops coach youth baseball-NBCvid

In one of the city’s roughest neighborhoods, police are dropping their guns and batons and picking up bats and balls in an effort to reach at-risk kids through America’s favorite pastime.

Police officers like Angela Wormley are stepping up to the plate to coach boys and girls as part of the Englewood Police Youth Baseball League.

The program was started for kids 9-12 years old on Chicago’s south side – an area notorious for gang violence – to gain the trust of children who are often suspicious of police.

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“Showing them that police are human, that we’re their friend, that they are safe around us – that’s an extension of being a police officer,” Wormley told NBC News.

In a statement, Englewood Youth Baseball League Program Manager Andrea Na’Tay, said,“The purpose of this program is to promote unification and trustworthiness, to establish and build relationships between the youth and the police of this community.”

The league runs through August and about 100 girls and boys have signed up to participate. The initiative is part of a partnership with community welfare organization Teamwork Englewood and Get In Chicago – a program aimed at eliminating juvenile violence.

(WATCH video below or READ more at NBC) – Photo: NBC video

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