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City leaders, organizations hope 'Summer in the City' provides safe space for Indy teens

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Posted at 4:31 PM, Jun 12, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — City leaders are giving teens another outlet to express themselves this summer in an effort to curb youth violence.

“When we are talking about real change, we have to think about how we are shaping our youth,” Martine Romy Bernard-Tucker, the Indianapolis Office of Public Health and Safety (OPHS) Director, said. “So having an option for the summer that is at no cost for their parents, removing all kids of barriers for them to actually have access to those programs is really important.”

In the second year of Summer in the City, leaders are revamping the program to focus on things kids can utilize in their daily lives, such as discussions around mental health, fitness and cooking classes.

WATCH | Summer in the City helps keep kids out of trouble during summer months

‘Summer in the City’ offers teens a new activity each day to keep them out of trouble during summer months

“Our kids are crying out for help. They don’t want to be in the streets, they want to find places where they can be safe,” Anthony Battle, Co-Founder of Let them Talk, said.

Let Them Talk and OPHS are two of the organizations that are working to put the six-week program on.

RELATED| City of Indianapolis announces new Chief Violence Prevention Officer (wrtv.com)

“Some of our kids have never talked to a mental health therapist, they can do this, this summer,” Battle told WRTV.

16-year-old Trent Gulley is a part of the program. He will tell you he’s seen firsthand the adversity facing Indy’s youth.

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"It’s hard because I don’t think it’s something that should be talked about at such a young age or having to be dealt with,” Gulley said.

He’s talking about kids impacted by gun violence. Giving kids a platform to have those tough conversations is one of the things Summer in the City will do.

READ MORE | 'It takes a village': OPHS looks to tackle youth violence (wrtv.com)

“It’s just a fun space for them to come meet other kids from around the city and say, 'Oh yeah, you all are experiencing that on your side of town too,'" Battle said.

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 To learn more about Summer in the City, click here. To learn more about Let Them Talk, click here.