Tuesday, September 30, 2008

At Point Fermin Park in San Pedro

San Pedro - Over 1500 seniors attended the 5th Picnic by the Sea event at Point Fermin Park on September 18, 2008. The annual event brought together members from Senior Citizen Centers throughout Los Angeles. The event was presented by the Department of Recreation and Parks, the Los Angeles Federation of Senior Citizen Clubs and the Port of Los Angeles and included a picnic lunch, entertainment, gift drawings, and more.

This year's entertainment included a Hawaiian-dance group, a blues band that included Florence LaRue, from the 1970s popular-music band The Fifth Dimension, and a zydeco-band. Members from The Miracle Workers Senior Club, Great Ebenezer Senior Club and Saint Eugene 50+ Club line danced the afternoon away, while the Golden State Water Company, AARP California and Department of Aging Senior and Caregiver Services handed out information and giveaways. A handful of lucky attendees won gift cards to Starbucks, Coco's restaurant and other retail stores during a series of raffles.

For more information on this event or the Department in general visit our website at http://www.laparks.org/ or call (213) 928-9200.

Jane Kolb: (213) 928-9294
Harvey Drut: (213) 928-9296

Thursday, September 11, 2008

At Jim Gilliam Recreation Center in South L.A.

Los Angeles - Jim Gilliam Recreation Center held the Summer Night Lights' Blowout Celebration on Saturday, August 30, 2008. Hundreds of kids and their families came together to participate in the program's culminating festivities.

The daylong event at Jim Gilliam featured entertainment (ranging from Aztec dancers to Hip-Hop music artists), basketball, soccer, marble and handball tournaments, skateboard competition, crafts and aerosol art. Youth arrived on buses beginning at 9:00 a.m.. coming from the seven other recreation centers where the program took place.

The Summer Night Lights program targeted eight L.A. City park facilities in the City's Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) zones in an effort to combat gang violence during the traditionally most-violent summer months. Summer Night Lights' three major components were:

1) Extended Hours & Programming: From July 4 through Labor Day, eight Recreation Centers extended hours until midnight, four nights a week (Wednesday-Saturday) and expanded programming to include youth centered recreational, educational and artistic activities to engage in positive activities during peak times of violence.

2) Youth Squad: Ten community coordinators were hired to create and staff the extended hours and programs at each park. Community coordinators are at-risk youth, ages 17-20, who have received extensive training and will receive stipends for 10 weeks.

3) Cease-Fire: Intervention workers helped maintain cease-fires on-site at Recreation Centers and in the surrounding community. They assisted in hiring and overseeing community coordinators and assist with expanded programming.

The Department locations that were selected for the program were Ramon Garcia RC, Cypress Park, Glassell Park and Pool, Mount Carmel, Ross Snyder Park and Pool, Hubert Humphrey RC and Pool, Ramona Gardens RC and Jim Gilliam RC. The eight sites were selected due to the large number of youth, high rates of violence and the low-socioeconomic status of their surrounding communities.

Summer Night Lights was developed in partnership with LAPD, LAUSD, Recreation and Parks, Cultural Affairs, community and faith-based organizations, gang-intervention workers, community residents, youth, business lenders and neighborhood councils. The program was funded through a $1 million contribution raised by Reverend Jeff Carr, the Mayor's Director of Gang-Reduction and Youth Development and other organizations, such as the Weingart Foundation and Wells Fargo Bank.

The success of the Summer Night Lights was recognized by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at a press conference about the gang reduction program on Monday, September 8, 2008 at Jim Gilliam Recreation Center. During the press conference, recreation staff was recognized for what they do best- providing activities for youth. Their efforts undeniably contributed to the success of the program, allowing for the hope that Summer Night Lights is only the beginning of due change in some disadvantaged neighborhoods.

According to Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton, violent crime statistics did go down during the weeks of Summer Night Lights, dropping 17 percent in the communities surrounding the eight program sites compared to the previous year.

For more information on the Summer Night Lights program or the Department in general visit our website at http://www.laparks.org/ or call (213) 928-9200.

Jane Kolb: (213) 928-9294
Harvey Drut: (213) 928-9296

Over 10,000 Southern California youth have a Dodger good time

Los Angeles - Over 2,000 youth from the Department of Recreation and Parks came together with 8,000 other Southern California kids to celebrate "Summer Camp Youth Day" at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, August 21, 2008.

Four children from Algin Sutton Recreation Center, along with Pacific Region Superintendent Mark Mariscal received a special recognition and were introduced on the field before the start of the game. Another four youth from Ross Snyder Recreation Center were selected to participate in the "Dodger Players and Youth Take the Field" program at the start of the game. The program allows pre-selected children to run to the player's positions and get their autographs on a major league baseball.

At the end of the game the youth also participated in the "Kids Run the Bases" program presented by McDonald's. Children ages 5 to 15 were invited down to the field after the game to run the bases like a major leaguer.

The Department would like to give a special thanks to the Los Angeles Dodgers for providing our youth with a fantastic, fun-filled day that they will never forget!
Jane Kolb: (213) 928-9294