Safe Summer Initiative returns for Indianapolis teens

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INDIANAPOLIS — The COVID-19 pandemic halted many plans this year, but it is not preventing The City of Indianapolis’ Safe Summer Initiative.

The weekly program gives teens ages 13 and older a place to hang out on Friday nights.

The first event is Friday, July 10, and the gatherings continue until August 14. The activities begin at 7 p.m. and last until 10 p.m.

“Hip Hop, art, spoken word, poetry, and of course, as usual, basketball, kickball, soccer and those type of things,” Casby Williams said of the things they have planned.

Williams is the city’s community resource coordinator. He said the main goal of this year’s initiative is for teens to feel seen and heard.

“That’s one thing that young people said they feel like city officials do not hear from them often,” Williams explained. “So us bringing the city to them gives them an opportunity to network with city officials.”

Williams said adult role models from different sectors of the community will attend each week to connect with youth and encourage them.

“They’ll be able to map out and have one-on-one dialogue with these professionals,” Williams said. “They’ll be able to tell their life story, how they were able to overcome obstacles and press through situations.”

Ronnelle Collins is a local teen who enjoys sharing his experiences with city leaders. He is looking forward to the summer programming.

“I’m pretty sure any teen would love to come out, have fun, play with other teens and not have any drama and just be [themselves],” Collins said.

If you would like more information about the Safe Summer Initiative, call Williams at 317-995-2203 or email him at casby.williams@indy.gov. The programs this year are happening at Douglass Park, Windsor Village Park and Municipal Gardens.

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