SVL Cultura Ambassador Darrell Cortez was born and raised in San Jose CA where he attended local schools. After high school he attended West Valley College and then went onto San Jose State Univ. where he pursued the field of criminal justice.
Growing up Darrell saw how active his parents were within the community and that instilled in him a call to service. He remembers meeting a police officer, early on, that worked at his parents events and mentioned to him that he is interested in becoming a Police Officer. He went on to work with the SJPD specializing in the area of narcotics and had a very successful 30+ year career at the department.
Darrell is currently the Executive Director of the Shop with a Cop Foundation of Silicon Valley. We are about addressing the systemic causes of poverty. That is education and children's inability to read at a proficient or advanced level. Only 59 % of 3rd grade students in SC County read at a proficient or advanced level. In Silicon Valley, where those without a high school degree will earn a median income below the the federal poverty line, the stakes for learning to read are high. It is a crisis. Since reading is the foundation for all learning, we must continue to see that our Latino kids succeed. if not, they will continue to live in poverty and their chances to get ahead are bleak.
The children participating in this year’s shopping spree were tested on their reading comprehension and those who excelled through the process were rewarded by participating in the Heroes and Helpers Holiday shopping spree. Students had to “earn” their way.
On December 4, 2019, we hosted 220 children of promise. There were over 240 police officers from 27 Bay Area, local, state and federal police agencies and 100 community volunteers. This experience will leave an indelible image on each child. It was a great day of giving back during this holiday season. One child was quoted as saying, “I have never been to a Target store before.” The premise of our work is to humanize the people behind the badge so children grow up trusting the police. The Shop with a Cop Foundation of Silicon Valley works on behalf of law enforcement officers and the communities they serve locally to shape strong partnerships and breakdown communication barriers; rebuilding trust through active engagement, education programs and outreach. We could not carry out our mission without generous supporters like you. You are helping us change the narrative on how children view police officers.
"It is no secret that in our profession today we are not seen by many, especially in the Latino community as the public servants and protectors we really are. We can complain about it and continue to see the division and animosity that is happening or we can do something or we can take action to do our part to change this perception, one child at a time."
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