Lynn officers share a slice with COACh students

Students from COACh are awarded with a pizza party from the law enforcement officers of Lynn after the students assisted in the packaging of educational packets for the police department. (Matt Demirs)

LYNN — The students in the Creating Opportunities for Autistic Children (COACh) program at Lynn Classical High School received a special drop-in from Lynn Police Officers Thursday morning.

After students assisted in the packaging of educational packets for the police department, they were rewarded with a pizza party paid for by the officers.

“Officers love every opportunity to work with kids,” said Lt. Christopher Reddy. “The help we had from these kids to put together our packets was huge.”

More than 20 kids enjoyed the party and the opportunity to interact with law enforcement.

In fact, Erickson Perez, a student in the program, hopped out of his seat when the four officers arrived.

Throughout the summer, the 21-year-old has participated in the 10-week COACh, a program designed to continue developing life skills for children with special needs.

Tracie Lindsey, COACh teacher at Pickering Middle School, said the six weeks during the summer helps make sure students don’t regress when they take time off from the structure and learning opportunity they receive during the year.

“It’s good for them to keep their routines throughout the months when school isn’t in session. We don’t lose everything we’ve worked on during the school year,” she said.

The students don’t just work on academic-based work, but also practical skills, such as using and budgeting money, and making their own food with assistance of supervisors during lunchtime.

The pizza party was held on their last day, making the event not only special for the police officers, but the students too.

“We usually show up to kid’s housing when something bad happens,” said Reddy. “When we can interact with them in a positive way, it is a win for everybody and makes our day.”

COACh teacher at Classical High School Erin Marc said meeting the people who serve the  community they are a part of makes an impact on these kids.

“They (students) very rarely forget a name or a face,” she said. “When they see Officer Reddy or another officer when they are out and about in the city, it is going to be another person they can remember and say hello to.”

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