Safe Summer initiative launches across Indy with goal of tackling teen violence

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Teenagers, ages 13 and older, are welcome in several parks and community centers across Indianapolis later into the evenings on Fridays and Saturdays until August 10.

Mayor Joe Hogsett, along with Director of Community Violence Reduction Shonna Majors, announced the plans for the Safe Summer initiative.

"Our city is engaged and it is ready to unite against violence in Indianapolis," Mayor Hogsett said during the news conference Friday, announcing the initiatives programming.

Safe Summer offers teens food and many free activities that include:

  • Open mic nights, like poetry readings
  • Basketball and kickball
  • 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
  • BBQs

"We just really want to create an environment where people don't feel scared, more like a family picnic, backyard type thing," said Casby Williams, a peacemaker and programming coordinator for the effort at Frederick Douglass Park on the city's near northeast side.

Here is a list of the places that are extending their hours for teens:

  • Frederick Douglass Park: 7-10 p.m. Fridays and 12-3 p.m. Saturdays
  • Windsor Village Park: 8-11 p.m. Fridays
  • Riverside Park: 12-3 p.m. Saturdays
  • Bethel Park: 12-3 p.m. Saturdays
  • Boys and Girls Club, 3870 N. Post Rd.: 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 Rd.: Fridays 8-11 p.m.

Williams said there will be off-duty officers as well as officers with security agencies in the city to protect children and spend time with them as well.

"Making sure that people have somewhere to go to have fun at like a park and they're supervised," Williams said.

The Central Indiana Community Foundation gave a $10,000 donation. They are not the only group who gave money. City leaders said the outpouring of support for the programming is allowing them to offer it at no additional cost to taxpayers.

The city's Office of Public Health and Safety said Safe Summer also includes targeted neighborhood walks on Saturday nights in areas like Castleton and downtown that see increased youth activity. If you would like to volunteer to help, send an email to OPHS@indy.gov.

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