The Missouri State University men’s basketball team is going to be a part of a new program:Bears, Badges and Kids, which will be starting at the end of June.

The team will play a monthly basketball game for a few hours on Saturdays with officers from the Springfield Police Department which children grades K-6 will be able to participate in for free.

Men’s basketball head coach Dana Ford organized the program, which is part of a diversity initiative unveiled by MSU Athletics on June 4. The diversity initiative also includes sensitivity training for athletes and a new process for athletes to report when they or a teammate feels they have been discriminated against.

“It is our goal as leaders in the Springfield community to assist in bridging the gap between young people and the men and women who serve and protect our city,” said Ford in a press release on June 10.

The monthly basketball games are scheduled to take place at various schools and parks in Springfield from June through September, on the fourth Saturday of each month. The team will take a break for the NCAA basketball season, then pick up again in April of 2021.

Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams said in the release the Bears, Badges and Kids program will provide positive interactions between SPD officers and Springfield kids.

Each child who participates will receive a free lunch, t-shirt and replica police badge.

Missouri State has encouraged sign up before the games begin to ensure enough items are available for each participant. The sign-ups are available now and can be found on the Missouri State Athletics website.