By DAVID SKOLNICK
If you want to keep at-risk children on the right path, you’ve got to provide the activities and support they need, city officials and community and faith-based leaders say.
With that in mind, those officials and leaders unveiled Friday the Community
Initiative to Reduce
Violence’s Youngstown Summer Program.
There are plenty of programs for Youngstown’s youth — from those in kindergarten to seniors in high school — to keep them busy on constructive and fun activities starting June 17 and running until the fall school semester starts, said Guy Burney, CIRV coordinator.
The programs range from sports — including basketball, baseball, bowling, tennis,
football and golf — to art and drama lessons to the city’s summer camp.
The schedule of events will be included shortly on the city’s website:
cityofyoungstownoh.org, Burney said.
The youth will be supervised by “character coaches,” who can help teach life
lessons and how to make the right choices, Burney said.
“Kids who are idle get into trouble,” he said.
The programs will be on all four sides of the city with as many of them as possible in walking distance for kids, Burney said.
The summer-program announcement was made at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center, 325 W. Federal St., with about 125 people
Several community and faith-based organizations have spent years working to make Youngstown a better and safer place, but haven’t worked together often enough, said the Rev. Willie F. Peterson, executive director for the Center for Community Empowerment and pastor of the NewBirth Kimmelbrook Baptist Church.
“We don’t lack resources, we lack togetherness,” he said. “We’re now meeting the needs of our citizens to come together and stop the violence.”
Pastor Al Yanno of the Metro Assembly of God said his church “targets hot spots for violence” and will have carnivals with food, music and entertainment to “transfer those neighborhoods for two hours into areas of peace.”