Mayor Joe Hogsett recently joined Director of Community Violence Reduction Shonna Majors as well as other city and community leaders to kick off the first night of Safe Summer. This expansion of Safe Saturdays, first announced last month, will fund safe and productive activities for youth ages 13 and older at Indy Parks and community partners through Aug. 10.
“Last month, when we first announced Safe Saturdays programming, we asked the community to join us in this effort. The response was so overwhelming that we were able to expand our offerings,” said Mayor Hogsett. “Now, at no additional cost to taxpayers, Safe Saturdays becomes Safe Summer. We are committed to giving young people in our city more opportunities to make good choices this summer break.”
Safe Summer will provide safe spaces for youth along with food and a host of free activities, including:
• Open mic nights
• Basketball and kickball
• Kickbacks (chill spot)
• Games of pool and foosball
• Video and board games
• Conflict resolution workshops
• Personal hygiene trainings
• Movie nights
• Boxing lessons
• Guest speakers
• End of summer dance
• Pool days
“We are so pleased to be able to provide safe spaces for our teens and further engage with them during our targeted neighborhood walks on Saturday evenings. It is our hope that Safe Summer will steer our young people away from crime and violence this summer and set them on a healthier, more productive path for the future,” said Director Majors.
Safe Summer will take place weekly at the following Indy Parks and community partner locations. Special events and activities that may take place throughout the summer will be announced on twitter at @IndyOPHS.
• Frederick Douglass Park: 7-10 p.m. Fridays & noon-3 p.m. Saturdays
• Windsor Village Park: 8-11 p.m. Fridays
• Riverside Park: noon-3 p.m. Saturdays
• Bethel Park: noon-3 p.m. Saturdays
• Boys and Girls Club, 3870 N. Post Road.: Fridays 7-11 p.m.
• VOICES, 1415 Shelby St.: 7-11 p.m. Fridays
• Mackida Lovell and Trip, 3616 N. Sherman Dr.: Fridays 7-10 p.m.
• B4UFall & Brewster’s Place Inc., 3980 Georgetown Road.: Fridays 8-11 p.m.
Also announced was a $10,000 donation from the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF). Thanks to this contribution and those of other community partners, Safe Summer will provide free spaces and activities for youth at no additional cost to taxpayers.
“Safe Summer is an extension of our partnership with the Community Crime Prevention Grant Program through the City-County Council and the City’s Office of Public Health and Safety,” said Alicia Collins, Director for Community Leadership at Central Indiana Community Foundation. “Engaging youth in fun and educational summer opportunities, like Safe Summer, is one important strategy in creating thriving, safe neighborhoods for everyone and we are happy to support this collaboration.”
Safe Summer also includes targeted neighborhood walks on Saturday nights in areas like Castleton and downtown that see increased youth activity. Community members interested in volunteering with Safe Summer can email OPHS@indy.gov.
In June, Mayor Hogsett first announced Safe Saturdays as part of the city’s summer violence prevention efforts and issued a call to action to the community – urging grassroots advocates and community service providers to join in efforts to prevent violence by engaging youth in safe alternatives to crime over the summer months. The city is able to expand “Safe Saturdays” to “Safe Summer” thanks to the overwhelming response from the community. More information on Safe Summer can be found at OPHS.indy.gov.
In addition to CICF, the city would like to thank the following community partners for helping to make Safe Summer possible: Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Indianapolis, VOICES Corp., Mackida Lovell and Trip Mentoring and Outreach, B4UFall & Brewster’s Place Inc., The Caring Place, ProAct Indy, Radio One, Resurrection Community Church, Community Action of Greater Indianapolis (CAGI), Mothers Against Violence Healing Ministry and Broken Wings Youth Coalition.