INDIANAPOLIS — Since 2019, Safe Summer has served as a space for kids and teens to enjoy free activities and events. The program is one of city’s tools to fight crime.
In its fourth year, the program is expanding to reach to more of the city’s youth.
“It truly takes a village, and that village can be several organizations coming together or several community members coming together,” Jayme Belk said. She is the founder and executive director of ‘The Learn.Share.Grow. Project,’ which is participating in Safe Summer this year.
“This summer, every young person in Indianapolis has a place to go to have fun day or night,” Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said.
On Friday nights starting this week and running through August 5, teens ages 13-18 can join in on photography, videography, boxing and art activities through Safe Summer. It’s all free.
“It’s about connection. It’s about mentorship and it’s about rapport,” Indianapolis’ Office of Public Health and Safety Lauren Rodriguez said.
For the first time, The Learn.Share.Grow Projectwill join Safe Summer. It focuses on education, art expression and character development.
“Having a safe place to go to, somewhere that’s positive, somewhere that has strong leadership and that’s building the leadership amongst youth — that’s super, super important,” Belk said.
During the Friday night program, the organization will host art activities including “cookies and canvas.”
“[We] teach them — I am feeling this way, why am I feeling this way? And how can I put that down on a canvas? How can I put that down on paper? And allow it to be able to be not only expressed but let’s reflect on it,” Belk said.
For the first time since Safe Summer started, programming is being added on Saturday nights.
“Coming out of the pandemic. It was really critical to provide this additional night to allow kids to have another space to come to,” Rodriguez said.
“Sports of all Sorts” will headline Saturday night programming through Safe Summer.
It is geared toward teaching kids and teens less traditional sports like lacrosse, track and field and snorkeling.
“If we can get these young people more resources then the likelihood of them being involved in violent activities and crimes will be reduced,” Allyson Fisher said. She is the founder and CEO of Sea Scope, Inc.
“I feel like God implanted this vision. I’m just going to do all that I can to touch every child and every young person that I can in the City of Indianapolis,” Fisher said.
The nonprofit provides minority, at-risk youth opportunities like snorkeling and scuba diving by introducing them to ocean conservation efforts.
“Hopefully, these young people can find something internally within them that connects them with something bigger than themselves and puts them on a path of being activists,” Fisher said.
The office of public health and safety tells WRTV that more than 1,000 teens ages 13-18 came out last summer. They’re hoping for more this summer.
Friday Night Events
- Every Friday from June 10-August 5
- Events at Riverside and Garfield Parks run 7p.m.-10p.m.
- Events at Washington Park run 8p.m.-11p.m.
- Focus on 13-18 age group
- No registration required
Saturday Night Events
- Every Saturday from June 11-July 30
- Events at Brookside Park from 8p.m.-10p.m.
- Focus on 9-17 age group
- Registration is encouraged
- Can register at Brookside Park Family Center, Indy Parks Customer Service office at Riverside Park or any Indy Park facilities
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