INDIANAPOLIS — With a recent rise in gun violence amongst teens and summer quickly approaching, leaders in Indianapolis are trying to make sure kids have somewhere to go to stay off the streets.
“Kids need someplace to go that’s a positive program to keep themselves occupied. So, they don’t engage in trouble throughout the summer months,” said Rev. Malachi Walker, founder of Young Men Inc. Summer Empowerment Camp.
Rev. Walker said teens are often pushed out of places they try to hang out whether it be a library or a gym and that getting children involved in a summer youth program can give them a safe place to go.
“Our goal is to empower them to make good decisions and choices in life,” said Walker.
Walker said his program aims to show the importance of making good choices and how those decisions can have a positive effect on the community. He also said this is a team effort between community leaders and the city.
City leaders with the Office of Public Health and Safety said they are making progress to offer more programs starting this month.
“We’ve done safe summer on Friday nights in the past,” said Tony Lopez with OPHS. “This year we’re starting something new to support youth during the whole week called ‘Summer in The City‘.”
The OPHS program is a 7-week opportunity for kids ages 16 to 19 to learn skills such as cooking, barbering or even fitness training. “Summer in the City” replaces the previous “Safe Summer” program that gave kids a space to go during the summer, but only on Friday nights.