South Side events draw families in effort to reduce crime in the city

By Graig Graziosi


The “South Side Summer Experience” series of family-focused neighborhood events had its eighth iteration of the season this week, drawing scores of South Siders out to share food, listen to music and play games.

Victoria Allen, the director of the ICU Blockwatch, said the event is a partnership between the neighborhood group and the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp.

“We do this because we want to engage our neighbors and improve the quality of life in our neighborhood,” Allen said. “We don’t just want people to come out and drop off their kids, we want to spend time with everyone and have fun together.”

David Perry, who lives in the neighborhood, saw the event Tuesday, which featured a large bounce castle as well as a DJ and grilled food for everyone participating, while he was driving by and asked his 3-year-old daughter Danyla if she wanted to go.

“I saw the sign that said it was open to everyone, so we decided to stop for a bit,” Perry said.

The events are part of the efforts by the YNDC to address crime in the surrounding neighborhoods. Last year, the YNDC received an $850,000 Department of Justice grant to implement crime and violence-reduction plans in the neighborhoods most impacted by those issues.

Jason Simon, a captain at the Youngstown Police Department, was at the event throwing a football with neighborhood kids and showing residents how to sign up for a text-alert system that will send them a message whenever a community event tied to the Justice Department is scheduled.

To join the list to see upcoming community events connected with the ICU Blockwatch and YNDC partnership, text “CBCR” to the number 888777.

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