Under the direction of our NY AAU Registrar Joe Armenio, NY Metropolitan has been one of the trailblazers for the AAU Urban Initiative. The goal is to bring AAU sports and resources to the areas of our cities that need it the most. This past Fall, we worked with the outstanding leadership of the NYPD Brooklyn North to operate a flag football league. To say it was an outstanding success would truly be an understatement. Approximately 100 athletes, coaches and referees all joined together each Saturday to play flag football where the coaches and refs were all NYPD officers, supervisors and even a Chief. By the way, Chief Maddrey often attended the games and was the dj and chef depending upon the week. His leadership was a true inspiration to the children and his officers. The program was referred to as "Cops and Kids" and was licensed and supported by the AAU. To watch the children interact with the police in an area of New York City that previously was most well known for its homicide rates was truly an inspiration.
Plans are now being finalized for a basketball league that begins in January and a karate group that will kick off shortly thereafter followed by another flag football league in the Spring.
Special thanks must be extended to Jo Mirza, the National AAU Treasurer and Steve Marcellino, AAU National Legal Counsel for having the vision to bring this program to reality. Their choice of Joe Armenio was also a tremendous decision as evidenced by Joe's hard word, close oversight of the program and its success.
The good that this AAU program is bringing to the community cannot be adequately described in this brief article but its impact will be felt for years by both the children and police officers.