Canines and children participate in annual Paws4Law event

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Three brothers enjoy some of the children’s activities at the public safety fair sponsored by Paws4Law, Feb. 15. Valley News/Courtesy photo

MURRIETA – The third annual K9 Competition Trials held by the Murrieta Police Department K9 Unit along with the Paws4Law Foundation, Feb. 15, drew crowds of participants and guests.

More than 60 K9 units from Southern California, Mexico and Arizona competed for the Top Dog Award. The event included food, live music, a police K9 demonstration, a public safety fair and children’s activities by the Murrieta Police Department and local vendors.

Event proceeds benefited the Paws4Law Foundation, a nonprofit organization that is “completely independent of the Murrieta Police Department and the city of Murrieta,” according to its website, www.paws4law.org. The money raised by the volunteer members – who receive no public funding from any governmental source – is used to improve the performance and quality of life of active and retired police dogs.

One of the event’s sponsors was the Community Outreach Ministry, a nonprofit organization focused on helping at-risk youth. The group’s mission is to help break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, drugs, violence, delinquency, gangs and incarceration in at-risk youth affected by one or both parents who are incarcerated. Children and teens from Riverside County attended the event.

The nonprofit distributed child identification kits and SAFE coloring books to children and McGruff Crime Dog tips to parents. The kits and coloring books were supplied by the California Legislature 67th Assembly District. McGruff the Crime Dog, a registered trademark of the National Crime Prevention Council, is part of this federal agency’s “Take A Bite Out Of Crime” campaign; a community outreach program that helps spread the word about crime prevention and community involvement to keep neighborhoods – and children – safe.

Jennifer Thomas and her son Aiden said they enjoyed the Paws4Law event. Thomas thanked the Murrieta Police Department and Community Outreach Ministry for helping the children of today have successful tomorrows. She also thanked them for fingerprinting her son at the Paws4Law event.

Clarissa Fears, an at-risk youth from Elsinore High School who now volunteers much of her free time mentoring other youth, volunteered to paint children’s faces. Fears volunteers at the ministry’s many other events throughout the year such as the group’s holiday parties, camping trips and Mentor-Protégé workshops, which focus on teaching children about science, technology, engineering and math.

The Community Outreach Ministry will host Easter celebration workshops free for children and families Saturday, April 4, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Wellness and More, 25377 Madison Ave., Suite 104, in Murrieta. There will be three mentor-protégé workshops presented at the event: “Children’s Creative Art,” “Gearing Up For STEM” and “Breaking the Cycle of Incarceration.”

For more information on the Easter Celebration Workshops or to become one of the sponsors for the event, call (951) 698-7650 or send an email to info@communityoutreachministry.org.

To donate online, visit www.communityoutreachministry.org. Donations may also be made by text. Send “DONATE CHAMPIONS” to (609) 212-0627.

Submitted by Community Outreach Ministry.