Summer long violence reduction effort will expand programming from 16 to 24
LOS ANGELES – Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa along with City Officials and community leaders today kicked off the third year of Summer Night Lights and announced the expansion of the program. The violence reduction and community initiative keeps City parks open after dark with organized activities for at risk youth, while also providing job opportunities and a safe place to spend the summer.
At a news conference at Highland Park Recreation Center, the Mayor, joined by Chief Charlie Beck, Council President Eric Garcetti, Councilmembers Ed Reyes, Tom LaBonge and Jose Huizar met with 240 youth squad members and representatives from participating non-profit and community based organizations.
“Summer Night Lights is a crucial part of our broader strategy to invest in another summer of hope for our youth and safety for our families,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “This is our chance to build on last summer’s success and make this summer better than the last.”
In its third year, Summer Night Lights will expand from 16 to 24 locations citywide with expanding programming, after-school activities, athletic leagues, arts initiatives and family programs. The comprehensive community program works in partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department, A Better LA, the Department of Recreation and Parks, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Conservation Corps., and the LA Unified School District.
Last year the program served over 270,000 youth families Citywide, and served 250,651 meals. In addition, Summer Night Lights helped achieve reductions in all gang related crime.
The Summer Night Lights program has three major components:
-Extended Hours and Programming: From July 7th – September 4th, 24 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 for violence.
-Youth Squad: Youth Squad members have been hired to create and staff the extended hours and programs. Youth Squad members are at-risk youth (defined as potential victims or perpetrators of violence), ages 17-20, and will receive stipends for 10 weeks of summer employment.
-Cease-Fire: Intervention Workers will help maintain cease-fires at the sites and in the surrounding community. They will assist in hiring and overseeing coordinators and assist with expanded programming.
The participating parks and locations are:
1. Cypress Park
2. Glassell Park
3. Hubert Humphrey
4. Imperial Courts
5. Jackie Tatum Harvard Park
6. Jim Gilliam
7. Jordan Downs
8. Lemon Grove
9. Mt. Carmel
10. Nickerson Gardens
11. Ramon Garcia
12. Ramona Gardens
13. Ross Snyder
17. Highland Park
18. Lake Street
20. Van Ness
21. Martin Luther King – MLK
23. South Park
24. Valley Plaza
Helping to encourage community participation, each Gang Reduction and Youth Development staff member has convened and SNL Work Group to ensure that key local stakeholders are involved in the planning and implementation process, including LAPD, LAUSD, Recreation and Parks, Cultural Affairs, community and faith-based organizations, gang intervention workers, community residents, youth, business leaders and Neighborhood Councils.
Summer Night Lights depends heavily on philanthropic donations. The following organizations generously contributed to this initiative:
Wells Fargo Foundation
Rose Hills Foundation
The California Wellness Foundation
California Community Foundation
The California Endowment
Katie McGrath & JJ Abrams
The Annenberg Foundation
The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
Rosenthal Charitable Trust
Hauptman Family Foundation
Montrose Community Church
Zenith National Insurance Co.
The Walt Disney Company
The Hitachi Foundation