MAUMELLE, Ark. (KTHV) -- The Lions Club is celebrating its centennial year by spreading its focus to projects that benefit young people.
After a very successful fish fry fundraiser last year, they had enough money to pay for a project that brings the kids right into the backyard of the Maumelle police and fire departments.
These kids scored a brand new basketball court.
“I'm very thankful for what we got because before we didn't have any of this,” said Seri Daniels, a teenager in the neighborhood.
The court is sandwiched between a Maumelle apartment complex, which is full of kids and the police department.
The goal of the court is to fuse the two groups together.
“Overall it's just a positive thing for them and for us,” said Captian Jim Hansard, with the Maumelle police department.
The officers play with the kids on their breaks, but it's much more than breaking a sweat.
“If they're having a problem, maybe they'd feel more comfortable coming to us, telling us about it, and maybe we can actually do something to help them,” said Hansard.
It's about building friendships and enhancing education.
“I think they're nice, cool, and good,” said Jaylen Thomas, one of the boys who enjoys playing on the court every day after school.
The kids aren't the only ones who are reaping the benefits, parents are game too.
“It's better than just sitting around, doing nothing, getting into trouble,” said Sherry Lamkin, mother of two, who lives in the nearby apartment complex.
Lamkin said she has peace of mind knowing her kids are getting active, while staying safe.
“It's in this open area, and there's always parents watching and looking, so there's always somebody paying attention to them,” said Lamkin.
A gift that keeps on giving was made possible by a very generous donation from the Maumelle Lions Club.
“We didn't have to ask twice. They jumped all over it,” said Hansard.
The Lions Club donated $10,000 to the Maumelle police and Fire departments. $4,000 was used to build the basket court. The remaining $6,000 will be used towards future community projects like this court.
“The school bus parks right over there, those kids make a beeline from there, pile their back packs up and start playing basketball,” said Hansard.
From football in the field, hoops, and flips, these kids play until the sun sets.
“It's a good way to meet people and it's a good way to get exercise and everything,” said Thomas.
If the basketball court continues this success, Maumelle Police Chief Sam Williams said he hopes to add lights to the court to extend their play time.
They also plan to add drinking fountains, but since there isn't public access water now, the officers have been giving it to the kids daily.