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Calgary police officer creates storytelling videos for coronavirus isolated families

After a bit of persuasion from Calgarians, Calgary police officer, Const. Mark Smith of the Calgary Police Service has started telling children stories online.

Due to coronavirus public health precautions, Const. Smith started this project after parents reached out to him as a suggestion for the Calgary Police Service to read their kids stories.

“I was just in a position where I was able to do something like this,” he said.

“It’s difficult for everyone at the moment, and I thought it was a great suggestion to lift people’s spirits and bring joy to families,” said Smith.

While Const. Smith’s storytelling has been done with Calgary Police via social media, most of his time making stories has been done while off-duty.

“I spend about an hour on each story. It’s good fun and it’s a learning experience for me. I find that the more stories you tell, the better you get at telling them,” he said.

Fans both young and old

Although the stories that Const. Smith reads are meant for children who are quite young, older audiences are giving their affirmation of personal joy for Const. Smith’s storytelling.

“Actually, a lot of adults enjoy listening to these stories, and also some of their older children as well,” he said.

Some of the comments that Const. Smith said he has has looked at say that people have found nostalgia in books they read when they were a child.

“There have been a few comments I’ve got from people from people who say ‘I remember this when I was in school,’” he said.

“The stories kind of take them away from what we’re going through for a few minutes. It’s nice to bring back those memories for people.”

The constable sees his stories as way to tell kids that in tough times we can still be learning.

“It’s important to continue to learn as well, because we will eventually get past this together, and we want to allow our children to continue to learn in a fun environment.”

The constable has also been adding sound effects to his videos as a twist to his storytelling.

“A lot of the kids really enjoy [the sound the effects]. If you add some animal noises, and things like that, it makes listening to the story a very fun experience for kids,” Smith said.

More children’s stories in the queue

With hundreds of comments and shares on his only posted video, Const. Smith hasn’t stopped receiving requests for more stories. He already prepared six more videos that he will be posting throughout the next few weeks.

“I’ve received lots of requests from people for stories from Dr. Suess, but the most popular one, which I’ve never heard of. . . it’s called Wonky Donkey,” he said.

“Not only do the kids learn about these books, but I’m learning quite a bit myself.”