Almost every Friday evening on Blue Hill Avenue, Boston police officers and local children stare each other down — from opposite sides of the tennis court.

They’re participating in a program called “Volley Against Violence,” an initiative organized by the Boston Police Department and the Sportsmen’s Tennis and Enrichment Center back in 2009 to reduce violence among young people by connecting them with adult role models such as police officers, according to Gayna Sealy, the program coordinator for the center.

“The main thing is to try to foster relations between our young people and the officers so the kids don’t see them as these people who are just there to police them, and the officers see the kids” in a more positive light as well, Sealy said.

The program was started by Officer Frank Williams, who’s also a board member at the center, after he noticed groups of kids in the city with
nothing to do Friday nights.

“I was working in South Boston, and I was driving my cruiser down the street, and I saw these kids hanging out,” Williams said. “About a week went by, and I saw the same kids, same place.”