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Cops ‘n’ Kids raises the Mayor’s Tree

If you take a walk down Payrow Plaza, you will notice special holiday ornaments adorning the Mayor’s Tree.

They are ornaments hand-drawn by the entire student body of Marvine ES.

On Nov. 17, third graders from the school received help from Mayor William Reynolds and his staff, Police Chief Michelle Kott and her officers, volunteers from Cops ‘n’ Kids, student athletes from Moravian University and the Liberty HS Grenadier Marching Band, to place the ornaments on the tree, as local musician Stacy Gabel performed holiday favorites in the background.

Cops ‘n’ Kids of the Lehigh Valley President Beverly A. Bradley welcomed the students and other participants to city hall for this special event.

“I think that there are moment in our lives that we cherish forever, whenever they occur in our life,” Bradley told the students. She made a point of telling them how representatives of different segments of Bethlehem’s community came together to celebrate them, and what community as a whole means in the city.

The students were given lunch from ShopRite of Bethlehem, while the city’s Health Bureau provided water and snacks. Students from Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School were responsible for the dessert. Free books were provided by PPL and each student received a new backpack from Bethlehem Business Forms/Working Dog Press.

Marlene Lakey has been donating her time to Cops ‘n’ Kids for nine years, donating over 7000 scarves and headbands she has crocheted since her involvement with the organization. “I just love doing it. I know the kids love them,” she said.

Lakey explained to The Press that being retired allows her the opportunity to chose patterns and colors, and have fun doing what she loves, while giving back to her community in a cause she believes in.

Pam Magnan has been volunteering with Cops “n” Kids for over 10 years. “It’s amazing. It’s a great organization and it’s so nice to see Bethlehem coming together for these kids. It’s a great place to live. It just gives these kids an opportunity to read, meet new people, choose books and have a nice time outside,” she explained to The Press.

Hailey Scaff is a Moravian University student athlete who decided that being part of this event was a great way to give back to Bethlehem’s community. “To be honest, it’s truly rewarding what Bethlehem has to offer and I love working with kids.”

Her teammate Samantha Osorio added, “It does mean a lot seeing the community come together and we have the opportunity to give back. You leave really happy because you know that we make an impact on these kids lives, even if it’s just in a small way. We know that they appreciate it and they appreciate us being here.”

Marvine ES substitute teacher Terese Perez echoed Osorio’s sentiment. She told The Press, “It’s awesome. It’s such a great privilege for these kids to get to do something like this.”

Community Outreach Officer Lt. Manuel Rivera explained to The Press why it is so important for the city’s officers to take an active role in this Cops “n” Kids event.

According to Rivera, “The relationship between the police and the community begins early. It begins with children, and it continues as they get older. And having positive interactions with police is priceless. It’s a great experience for them, it’s a great experience for us.”

As for Reynolds, the day perfectly reflected what the City of Bethlehem was about. In an interview with The Press, he said, “It is one of the best days of the year as we welcome these amazing Marvine ES students to help us decorate the tree and interact with so many wonderful people in our community. And the fact that we have the Liberty Band, these Moravian athletes and so many volunteers, it’s a great start to our holiday season.”

Third grade students from Marvine ES enter city hall to the holiday hymns performed by Liberty HS Grenadier Marching Band Nov 17.
Bethlehem Mayor William Reynolds, standing alongside Cops ‘n' Kids President Beverley A Bradley, welcomes students from Marvine ES to city hall. Reynolds speaks to them about the importance of community and everyone coming together to ensure this is a special day for them.
Pam Magnan is one of the key Cops ‘n' Kids volunteers who helped make this day special for the students of Marvine ES. She said it's important for her to give back to the community this way.
Third grade students from Marvine ES enjoy an outdoor lunch, provided by ShopRite of Bethlehem, on Payrow Plaza.
PRESS PHOTO BY MARIEKE ANDRONACHE Dante helps Mayor William Reynolds decorate the mayor's tree with a special ornament made for this occasion.
A holiday tree ornament, made by a Marvine ES student, hangs on the Mayor's Tree on Payrow Plaza.
Marlene Lakey stands behind the various headbands and scarves she made for the third graders of Marvine Elementary school. She has been volunteering her time and work to Cops ‘n' Kids for years.
Marvine ES students Melanie and Taylor are excited to have their picture taken with Police Chief Michelle Kott and her officers in front of the mayor's tree.
9 Allen Frank conducts Liberty High School Grenadier Marching Band as they play holiday favorites.
10 Students of Marvine Elementary School, Liberty High School Grenadier Band and musician Stacey Gabel end the day performing holiday classics for the Mayor, Bethlehem City Police, Moravian University students and all the volunteers of Cops “n” Kids.