Police Renovate Lemon Avenue Facilities

LA MESA -- Just in time to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Little League baseball, La Mesa National Little League (LMNLL) was the beneficiary of a new and spacious snack bar at Lemon Avenue Elementary.  Lemon Ave hosts four playing fields for their T-ball, Rookies, CAPS, and Minors divisions.  The old snack bar was very cramped and poorly located.  The need was clear, but the funding was not.  In stepped the La Mesa Police Officers Association (LMPOA) and Officer Jeff Raybould.  Raybould, also a LMNLL coach and board member, worked with the league and school district to help bring improvements to the Lemon Ave fields. 

 The LMPOA funding support comes from both police officers and an annual golf tournament.  Raybould stated, “In 2010 when I first thought of having a charity golf tournament I reached out to several organizations to see if they were in need of anything that we would be able to help out with. La Mesa National Little League responded right away and provided me with a wish list. The board of Directors at LMNLL has been extremely helpful in promoting the golf tournament and been extremely grateful for all the work we have done. “

 Through this fundraising, the LMPOA has been able to improve the Lemon Ave batting cages, redo the CAPS infield, and build a new snack bar at Lemon Ave.  Raybould said, “The snack bar has been by far the biggest project that we have taken on and probably the one that will have the most effect on the LMNLL. The old snack bar at Lemon Avenue was out of sight and very small. As a result of that, the LMNLL was losing out on potential revenue which helps generate funds for the league.”  He also noted that La Mesa Lumber and Starrett Construction plus countless volunteer construction hours from dedicated parents were essential to this project and thanked the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District for approval of the use of school property.  LMNLL President Kevin Hovey said, “The snack bar is a tremendous new asset for LMNLL.  It is a new focal point for gathering and it’s a facility that is sure to improve our revenue potential.  LMNLL is very lucky indeed to have the support of the La Mesa Police Officers Association.”

 In addition to Little League projects, Officer Raybould noted that the LMPOA is committed to helping with local youth activities and education.  He stated that last year’s golf tournament was so successful that that the association was able to purchase a huge number of books for La Mesa-Spring Valley School District libraries in La Mesa.  These schools had previously reduced buying books due to state budget cuts.  Every librarian was asked for a wish list.  Raybould said, “Seeing the kids faces when I delivered the books and all the personalized letters from the kids after the deliveries made this project so worthwhile!

 The association also has a program called “Officers Helping East County Youth”, which provides financial support to underprivileged youth for sports, art, and music.  Besides family need, the assistance is conditional upon hard work and good grades in school.  To further benefit local youth academic achievement the LMPOA has two scholarships, both named for former La Mesa Police officers.  The Christine Rath scholarship is given to a student involved in 4H Club activities at El Capitan High School, and the Ken Joseph award is presented to a Grossmont College student scoring high grades, demonstrating ethics and citizenship, and pursuing a career in criminal justice.

 The LMPOA Charity Golf Tournament takes place this Friday, July 11 at the Salt Creek golf course in Chula Vista.  In addition to further field improvements for La Mesa National Little League, the POA is very supportive of the planned Boys and Girls Club to be located next to La Mesa Middle School and Officer Raybould is hopeful that this will be a very successful fundraiser to help underwrite that project.  He noted that the LMPOA is grateful for continued community support and details of the golf tournament and POA projects can be found on their website www.lamesapoa.com or by emailing him at jraybould@lamesapoa.com.  He stated, “The LMPOA has worked very hard since we were founded in 1954 to bond with the residents of La Mesa and surrounding areas. We don't do anything for the publicity and that is why you hardly hear of our hard work. Just a smile from a kid or a thank you from a parent is all we need!”

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Tags: Jeff Raybould, La Mesa National Little League, La Mesa Police Officers Association, La Mesa Today, La Mesa newspaper, Lemon Avenue School

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