ORLANDO, Fla. – A new mural in the Mills 50 district is honoring Dueling Dragons of Orlando, a 10-year partnership that helps build relationships between law enforcement and inner-city youth.
Local leaders, the Orlando Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Dueling Dragons founder Andrea Eliscu added the final touches to the mural Saturday morning.
“This Dueling Dragons mural reflects both the diversity and unity of our wonderful community,” Eliscu said in a release. “It will be a gift to the City of Orlando, enhancing our already tremendous public art offerings.”
According to the Dueling Dragons website, the program uses the sport of dragon boating so inner-city kids and Orlando officers bond. The program matches at-risk kids with police officers and together they train as a team in rowing competitions.
“Success in dragon boating comes only when everyone in the boat works together in complete harmony. In the process, stereotypes come down, profiles melt away, friendships are formed, and lives change for the better,” the website says.
Eliscu told News 6 in 2015 she got the idea while listening to a local police chief speak at a community event, the first time she heard the term “invisible kids,” kids who haven’t gotten into trouble but live in at-risk environments.
“It was like, I can get these kids in a dragon boat because I know how much attention there is between the paddlers,” she said. “They’re not going to be invisible when they’re out here.”
The mural is located by the Pop Thai restaurant in Mills 50.
LOOK FOR IT: To recognize 10 years of Dueling Dragons of Orlando & the Asian roots of dragon boating, today Deputy Chief Eric Smith joined some of our officers, @OrlandoFireDept & @OrangeCoSheriff to finish a mural tribute to the program in Mills 50. pic.twitter.com/OGAPONMKxa— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) May 8, 2021