Faces in the Crowd: Black Hills Badges for Hope
Black Hills Badges for Hope began as a charity golf tournament — honoring officers James Ryan Mccandles and Nick Armstong, who were killed in the line of duty. That event quickly developed into a non-profit organization.
The mission of Black Hills Badges for Hope has several facets: focusing on positive interaction between community members and first responders, sponsoring individual, youth activities and supporting those who have lost loved ones in the line of duty.
The organization is just over a year old and has already made on impact on many lives with the Cops and Kids Christmas shopping event and giving out scholarship money to Boys Club Members for the Hooked on Hard Water event. They see the value in supporting our future generations.
Dustin Calhoun, Black Hills Badges for Hope President, says, “There’s a piece specifically with little league … it’s more than just baseball … they build a relationship with other kids, they build relationships with their coaches, they learn leadership skills, and so just we see that … as a positive, as they get older having that foundation.”
Candace Archer, Black Hills Badges for Hope secretary, says, “I’ve always had a passion for kids and sports. I think it’s really important that we are able to allow these kids to be able to find their niche and whether that niche is baseball or football or choir or music or drama or horseback riding, you know, whatever it is. When people have that, they tend to focus on that, and they tend to make the rest of their lives more meaningful.”
Jason LaHaie, Black Hills Badges for Hope vice president, says, “The goal is that when we get them involved and get them to interact with other kids in a positive way, or mentors and coaches and teachers, is to reduce crime in the future. It’s something that we’re never going to be able to measure, but we’re not gonna sit back and just hope that things will change. This organization is stepping up to make change in this community and we can’t do it without the community as a partner.”
Tyler Tribby, a Black Hills Badges for Hope board member, says, “The kids aspect of it is what I like about it … if you can keep kids in sports, if you can keep them in activities, keep their grades up, they stay in school and it just leads to better outcomes throughout life. Some of them could be our future leaders in this community.”
Jenn Bradford, Black Hills Badges for Hope Treasurer, says, “I think sometimes children get a persona of what they think law enforcement is and it’s not always positive. That’s where we can kind a help facilitate a better attitude about that, then the response will be better and hopefully the choices as well.”
Black Hills Badges for Hope intends on sponsoring more outings for children, like buying back-to-school supplies and clothes and shoes for the summertime.
Not available for an interview was board member Honorable Heidi Linngren.
If you are interested in receiving funds from the organization for a youth activities, click here.
The Fallen Officer Memorial Golf Tournament will be held July 13th, click here for more information.