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 the city’s crime-fighting tools.
Now in its fourth year, the program is expanding to reach more of the city’s youth.
“It really takes a village, and that village can be multiple organizations coming together or multiple community members coming together,” said Jayme Belk. She is the founder and executive director of ‘The Learn.Share.Grow. Project”, which is taking part in Safe Summer this year.
“This summer, every Indianapolis kid has a place to go to have fun day and night,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.
On Friday nights starting this week and running through August 5, teens ages 13-18 can participate in photography, videography, boxing, and art activities through Safe Summer. Everything is free.
“It’s a matter of connection. It’s about mentorship and relationships,” said Indianapolis Office of Public Health and Safety Lauren Rodriguez.
For the first time, the Learn.Share.Grow project will join Safe Summer. It focuses on education, artistic expression and character development.
“Having a safe place to go, a positive place, a place where the leadership is strong and builds leadership in young people — that’s super, super important,” Belk said.
During the Friday evening program, the organization will organize artistic activities, including “cookies and canvases”.
“[We] teach them – I feel like this, why do I feel like this? And how can I put that on a canvas? How can I put this on paper? And allow him to be able to not only express himself, but let’s think about it,” Belk said.
For the first time since the start of Safe Summer, programming is added on Saturday evenings.
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“Getting out of the pandemic. Providing that extra night was really essential to allow the kids to have another space to come in,” Rodriguez said.
“Sports of All Kinds” will headline the Saturday night lineup through Safe Summer.
It aims to teach children and teens less traditional sports like lacrosse, track and field and snorkeling.
“If we can get more resources for these young people, the likelihood of them being involved in violent activity and crime will be reduced,” Allyson Fisher said. She is the founder and CEO of Sea Scope, Inc.
“I feel like God planted this vision. I’m just going to do everything I can to reach every child and youth that I can in the city of Indianapolis,” Fisher said.
The nonprofit organization provides at-risk minority youth with opportunities like snorkeling and scuba diving by introducing them to ocean conservation efforts.
“I hope these young people can find something within themselves that connects them to something bigger than themselves and sets them on the path to being activists,” Fisher said.
The Office of Public Health and Safety told WRTV that more than 1,000 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 came out last summer. They hope for more this summer.
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Friday night events
- Every Friday from June 10 to August 5
- Events at Riverside and Garfield parks run from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Events at Washington Park run from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
- Focus on the 13-18 age group
- No registration required
Saturday night events
- Every Saturday from June 11 to July 30
- Events at Brookside Park from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Focus on the 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 facility