The Detective Rafael Ramos Foundation in cooperation with The Legacy Center and the 79th Precinct launched the foundation’s Backpack Project with a block party and a distribution of 360 backpacks filled with school supplies were given to students. at P.S. 59 William Floyd School on Thursday.

Students at Thursday’s event pet a mounted police horse

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]   “Take a tragedy, make it into a positive, bring the community in, and this is the residual effects of that,” said Deputy Inspector John Chell. [/perfectpullquote]

Thursday morning at P.S. 59 was a little different this week, as students lined up in the blocked-off street in front of their school. Music blared in the crisp morning air as organizers sets up a rock climbing wall and a table of colorful backpacks filled with school supplies. Several speakers slated gathered to give remarks before in front of the school’s front steps.

Students from P.S. 59 watch the Ramos Foundation’s student drill team perform.

The Detective Rafael Ramos Foundation was founded by Ramos’s wife Maritza after Detective Ramos and his partner Detective Wen Jian Liu were murdered in their patrol car not far from the where P.S. 59 is located.

During her remarks, Principal Dr. Dawn Best stated how much of an honor it was from the project’s conception for P.S. 59, noting how often tragedies can end relationships with the community.

One of the foundation’s four stated goals is to better connect law enforcement and the community. They partnered with the NYPD’s 79th Precinct and The Legacy Center to deliver the backpacks and organize the day’s activities.

Remarking on the success of the day as a dance contest got underway, Deputy Inspector John Chell, the Commanding Officer of the 79th Precinct said, “Quite frankly, take a tragedy, make it into a positive, bring the community in, and this is the residual effects of that. It’s a wonderful day.”

The Legacy Center, an organization Detective Ramos volunteered with during the Hurricane Sandy cleanup, gives out backpacks, feeds the homeless, and distributes necessary household goods like diapers to combat poverty.

D.I. Chell, Assistant Chief Maddrey, Maritza Ramos, Jordan Durso, Pastor Ralph Castillo, and Principal Best pose with foundation members, officers from the 79th Precinct and students from P.S. 59

“Our goal is help not only in your situation, but out of your situation,” said the Foundation’s Executive Director Jordan Durso. “So giving out a backpack is great, we love it. I think we are giving out about 360 backpacks today. But, this is kind of that relationship builder.

“It’s a way to connect with the children, a way to connect with their parents, and just build relationships between the NYPD, P.S. 59, The Rafael Ramos Foundation and, of course, The Legacy Center with the kids. And, just encourage them to serve their community.”

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