When I was 10 years old, I went through the D.A.R.E. program. I grew close with my D.A.R.E. officer, Officer Josh King of the Chesterfield Police Department and when D.A.R.E. was over, he asked me if I wanted to volunteer at some community events with the police department. After meeting more officers, and getting to work more closely with Officer Josh, I began to ask questions about law enforcement and realized how dangerous emergency responding can be. So at only 12 years old, I started Rockin' 4 Relief.
We are a teen-based organization that sends volunteers to different Dierbergs locations (a local grocery chain in the St. Louis area) to rock in a rocking chair for 10 hours annually. Donations are made by pledges, or people dropping money in the donation boxes as they come in and out of the store. Each year, Dierbergs has let us use more of their locations which has let our organization expand. Once our rocking is complete, we donate our money to an organization called BackStoppers. They give money to families of police officers, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics who were killed in the line of duty.
We have grown exceptionally in the past 5 years and we have plans to grow even further. Our first year, we rocked at a local gym and raised $751.01; and our most recent event, we had 21 Dierbergs locations, more than 100 volunteers, and we raised $22,301.00. We've raised a cumulative total of over $69,000, which includes a $13,000 donation from Ms. Oprah Winfrey. Click here to learn more about her donation.
I also serve as Missouri's D.A.R.E. Youth Advisory Board (YAB) Representative and I've worked with many officers from around the state who have stepped in whether they live close or not. Over the years, I've grown up with the Chesterfield Police Department, the Monarch Fire Protection District, and many officers from other departments and I now want to become a police officer myself one day. I can't thank them enough for their service and support! Stay safe!