Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kick-off of Summer Gang Reduction Effort at City Parks

Los Angeles - Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa joined Department General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri to kick-off the second year of Summer Night Lights (SNL) and announce the program's expansion to 16 sites. The SNL press conference was held at Imperial Courts Recreation Center (one of the 16 SNL sites and a Department facility) on Monday, June 29, 2009.

The Mayor and General Manager were joined by Councilmember Herb Wesson, Chief William Bratton, USC Football Coach Pete Carroll and representatives from participating non-profit and community based organizations. 160 youth squad members were also on hand to celebrate the launch of SNL. Summer Night Lights was developed in partnership with the Department of Recreation and Parks, Coach Carroll's non-profit organization, A Better L.A., the LAPD, the Department of Cultural Affairs and LAUSD.

Taking action to combat gang violence during the summer months, traditionally the most violent time of the year, Summer Night Lights targets parks in the City’s Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) zones and expands programming, after-school activities, athletic leagues, art initiatives and family programs. The anti-gang initiative keeps City parks open after dark with organized activities for at-risk youth, therefore providing a safe place to spend the summer.

The SNL Program has three major components:
1) Extended hours and programming: From July 8 – September 8th, 16 sites will extend their hours until midnight, four nights a week (Wednesday-Saturday) and expand programming to include youth-centered recreational, educational and artistic activities to engage youth in positive activities during peak times of violence.
2) Youth Squad: Ten community coordinators have been hired to create and staff the extended hours and programs at each park. Community coordinators are at-risk youth, ages 17-20, who received extensive training and will receive stipends for 10 weeks of work.
3) Cease-Fire: Intervention workers will help maintain cease-fires at the sites and in the surrounding community. They also assist in hiring and overseeing community coordinators.

With last summer's success, it only made sense to expand the program from 8 to 16 sites this year. Last year, each site averaged over 6000 kids per week and communties around SNL parks experienced a 17% drop in violent crime, an 86% reduction in homicides and a 23% decrease in aggravated assualt.

Besides expanding to eight additional sites, two other features have also been added to this year's programming. All sites will feature barbeques from 7:00-9:00 p.m. and evening swimming will be available at three Recreation and Parks sites (Jackie Tatum/Harvard Aquatic Center, Glassel pool and Sepulveda pool).

The 16 Summer Night Lights locations are: Cypress Park Recreation Center, Denker Recreation Center, Edward E. Roybal Learning Center, Glassell Park, Jackie Tatum/Harvard Recreation Center, Hubert Humphrey Memorial Park, Imperial Courts Recreation Center, Jim Gilliam Park, Jordan Downs Recreation Center, Lemon Grove Recreation Center, Mount Carmel Recreation Center, Nickerson Gardens Recreation Center, Ramon Garcia Recreation Center, Ross Snyder Recreation Center, Ramona Gardens Recreation Center and Sepulveda Recreation Center.

For more information on the SNL program, please visit our website at http://www.laparks.org/ or call (213) 202-2700.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694

No comments: