On one particular day earlier this month, three youngsters busied themselves drawing on the chalkboard walls. Books and toys are neatly lined up in shelves as a grinning Mickey Mouse wall sticker adorns a wall near the door. While the situation was far from typical, Champlin Police Chief Dave Kolb took comfort in seeing the youngsters feel at home in this room. After all, that was the objective behind the newly redecorated children’s room at the Champlin Police Station.
Five years ago the City of Champlin completed much needed facility improvements including a state-of-the-art police station. The improvements included a small room for holding or interviewing children. Kolb felt the room was adequate but he thought it needed something more.
“It was pretty sterile. It had everything the police needed but it wasn’t a pleasant place for a little kid,” said Champlin Police Chief Dave Kolb. “Occasionally, we need to interview kids in that room. Maybe they are crime victims, or they are in the midst of a family crisis.”
Changes to the room were not in the city budget so Champlin Police Sergeant Tim Meade looked for another solution. Meade contacted the Champlin MOMS Club which happened to be looking for a community service project.
The MOMS Club offered to make the room kid-friendly by donating their time and talents. Two Champlin businesses, Lane’s True Value and Kids Rack, stepped up with donations for the project. Six local moms showed up in January armed with paint, toys, books, posters, and even diapers and a changing pad.
They transformed a sterile interview room into a kid friendly space which still serves the needs of the police while making kids more comfortable during difficult times.
“When I walked in there I was kind of shocked by how much work they had done and how much stuff was donated,” said Kolb. “The entire room was transformed from cold and businesslike to warm and friendly.”
Just a few days later, those three youngsters put the room to the test. Champlin officers had arrested a man for child neglect and took three kids into protective custody. While waiting for their mother to come and pick them up, the kids, ages 3, 4 and 7 were kept in the newly improved room where they played for over an hour.
“This is just another example of the community support we receive here in Champlin,” said Kolb. “It’s really nice to see, especially for the young kids who find themselves in such a stressful situation.”
The MOMS Club participates in numerous service projects and fundraisers throughout the year. One of their recurring activities includes partnering with Target in Champlin to purchase cake mixes and other supplies and decorations to make Birthday Bags to donate to CROSS Food Shelf. They also donate funds to the national MOMS Club Caring Mother Fund, which distributes financial assistance to other MOMS Club members in need.
(Editor’s Note: The Champlin MOMS Club is a chapter of International MOMS Club which stands for Moms Offering Moms Support®, a non-profit organization committed to supporting at-home or part-time working mothers and their communities. They offer support, friendship and fun filled activities for mothers and their children. They can be reached by e-mail at [email protected])
Contact Mindy Mateuszczyk at [email protected]