College-bound students at Indy’s Safe Summer Program receive free laptops during the finals of the program’s basketball tournament

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INDIANAPOLIS — Indy continues to battle violence issues across the city. So there have been 160 homicides this year with more than a third of those victims under the age of 25. This week marks the last night of the city’s Safe Summer Program, which is aimed to help give students in tough neighborhoods an outlet.

“To let them know there is programming out there, and always something to do other than hang out on the streets,” explains Justin Reed, Community Research Coordinator at Indy’s Office of Public Health and Safety, “They see me, and that he looks like us, and he made it out. He’s doing something positive, so I definitely can do that too.”

The program took place across three city parks and gave students access to summer fun and services that may not be readily present in their area. The neighborhoods where the parks are located include ten of Indy’s homicides this year.

Thursday marked the finals of Safe Summers basketball league. Between games, three of the players were honored for being accepted to college. All three were given laptops from the city. Program coordinators hope other students take notice.

“There was a hush, and a clap come over the room because the kids are seeing when you do good there’s rewards that come to you,” believes Shonna Majors Indy’s Director of Community Violence Reduction.

The Safe Summer program will continue to stay in touch with the students in the program, and their coaches, as they head into the fall. The hope is they can get more engaged within the school systems this year. COVID-19 prevented some programs from happening last year.

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