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Richmond Police Athletic League

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Aug, 2018

Staff Spotlight: Joy Norwood

Officer Joy Norwood first became enamored with sports as a young girl in Georgia learning the game of basketball. Growing up, Officer Norwood said sports, and specifically basketball, provided her with countless life lessons that she is now hoping to share with Richmond’s youth.

After moving to Richmond in 2003, Officer Norwood joined the Richmond Police Department where she eventually became a School Resource Officer at Elkhardt-Thompson Middle School. There, she extended her outreach to the kids by becoming the Girls Basketball Coach in 2013.

PAL has been lucky to have Officer Norwood as a Girls Recreational Basketball Coach since 2008, where she has worked extensively with our young women to show them the power of sports and athletics in youth development. Most recently, Officer Norwood has served as one of the coaches for our Flag Football League, where she led the Elkhardt-Thompson “Panthers” to a Super Bowl win.

“It was a great feeling,” Officer Norwood said. “Most important, I feel great for the kids. They deserved it; they tried hard. I was more proud, not only because they won the championship, but because they actually stuck with something. They found out what it takes to persevere.”

Elkhardt-Thompson’s team started out as the underdog of the league, losing their first game through a forfeit. Instead of giving up, Officer Norwood went back to the drawing board to figure out how to motivate her team to stick with the league.

“I went back to them and said, 'Hey this is a good opportunity; y’all need to give it a try,'” she explained. "They listened and they stuck with it. When you have kids or teenagers around this age you have to constantly remind them that they’ve got to work together and they’ve got to believe in themselves and it’s going to be a lot of hard work.“

After some convincing, Officer Norwood said the Elkhardt-Thompson team worked closer and better than before. Even when the players got down on themselves during a tough game, Officer Norwood reminded her team that these hardships are the first steps to becoming a champion.

“The kids tend to get down on themselves, but that’s when I come in,” Officer Norwood said. “That’s when the coaches and the mentors roles come in and you’ve got to keep making them believe. You’ve got to play until the score clock says 0:00.”

Officer Norwood said she believes that with proper discipline and determination, her team, or any child, can reach their dreams.

“If they stay disciplined enough, the skies the limit,” she explained. “They have a lot of talent, they just need to stay focused. They need structure. They need strong mentors to remain in their lives. They also need to keep their grades up. There’s a great possibility that they could receive a sports scholarship, but they need to stay focused in the classroom as well.”

Officer Norwood said that while being a School Resource Officer isn’t a position for everyone, she thoroughly enjoys the opportunity to give back.

“I’m in my element and I really enjoy working with kids, so I’m right where I want to be,” she said.

Officer Norwood’s hard work with the kids in the PAL program and beyond has earned her a nomination from the NAACP for her community work. We at PAL are proud to have dedicated officers like Joy Norwood who are committed to providing positive outlets for the children in the Richmond community. Congratulations Officer Norwood, we are so proud of you!

By Taylor Peterson

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