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Police Officers Ball offers help for kids to avoid gangs, & elegance
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It is arguably the classiest night of the year in Manteca - the annual Manteca Police Officer’s Ball.

Not only does it offer a change to dress up semiformal or formal but it also raises money for causes aimed at keeping kids from being caught up in the web of gangs.

That’s because the event benefits the Manteca Police Chief’s Foundation that underwrites a wide array of programs aimed at keeping kids out of trouble.

“It is a great night to dress up,” noted Police Chief Dave Bricker. “You don’t get many opportunities in Manteca to do that.”

Bricker added that last year’s ball “blew people away” with how attendees dressed and how much fun they had.

The ball dubbed “A Night Amongst Heroes” is this Saturday, Sept. 10. It starts with drinks at 5 p.m., a catered steak dinner at 6 p.m. and dancing at 7 p.m. The event at the Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane, also includes a silent auction and a raffle for a hand gun.

Tickets are $50. Tuesday at 5 p.m. is the deadline for reservations. For tickets call 456-8134.

One of the major initiatives the foundation has helped put in place is a school chaplaincy program. There are 17 ministers available to counsel students at Manteca Unified schools. They have worked to build relationships with students so they can turn to them when they need help.

The foundation also helps underwrite programs such as the Boys & Girls Club and Manteca Police Explorers. The foundation has also paid for instruments for a music program at the club that is operated under the supervision of GK Music. The foundation also funds the Junior Crime Scene Investigation program and Junior Police Academy.

“We figure there are a lot of at-risk kids out there who aren’t into sports but are interested in music,” Bricker said. “What kid doesn’t want to be a rock star?”

The music program has a waiting list including younger youth for whom the guitars purchased are too big. The foundation plans to buy smaller instruments so the program can be expanded and get kids hooked on music at an earlier age.

The foundation also is expanding its funding into gang intervention programs.