|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 27, 2005|
||Press Secretary Carlene Orig|
Mayor Barrett Unveils Community Campaign to Help Keep Youth Safe
Milwaukee-- Mayor Tom Barrett today unveiled a community-wide, comprehensive program to help keep Milwaukee's youth safe during the summer months. Milwaukee's "Safe Summer" campaign consists of a Youth Action Guide, Pledge of Non Violence and Community Resource Team.
Safe Summer's Youth Action Guide provides a listing of all summertime teen activities in one easy-to-use pamphlet. Youth serving agencies, churches, businesses, organizations and schools will distribute more than 100,000 guides. The guides provide activities including learning how to sail, basketball, arts and crafts and summer camp. "I want our youth to be safe and not to engage in criminal or illegal activity," said Mayor Barrett. "The Teen Action Guide provides teens with safe places to go and positive activities to do during the summer." "The YMCA will keep our doors open to provide safe, positive activities for our city's teens all summer long," said Kent Johnson, President and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee. "I know that many other youth-serving organizations in the city will do the same. We simply cannot allow teens the opportunity to fall victim to or commit a violent act, and I'm confident that we can keep our kids safe if we all work together."
Mayor Barrett is also asking 10,000 teens to sign a Pledge of Non-Violence over the summer. The pledge asks teens not to engage in violent activities of any kind, to respect their family, friends and community, and to work to improve their neighborhood. "I believe in the young people in our community. I need their help. We need young leaders to help convince their peers that whatever the dispute, you don't resort to violence," said Barrett.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funded groups will assist in the goal of getting teens to sign the pledge. Mayor Barrett is also encouraging all youth serving agencies to host a teen event such as a dance, movie or basketball game on May 20th as the kick off to the campaign. Teens who sign the pledge will also receive a pamphlet of summertime activities.
"Under the leadership of Mayor Barrett, Safe & Sound will redouble its efforts to recruit youth to participate in positive youth development activities and train them to utilize positive dispute resolution techniques. We will have a Safe Summer and begin many seasons of safety," said Barbara Notestein, Executive Director of Safe & Sound. "Parents want their children to grow and succeed and in order to give all children a chance, we must take back our community and it begins with hope and opportunities," said Deborah Blanks, Executive Director of Social Development Commission of Milwaukee.
Safe Summer also includes a Community Resource Team that provides victims and neighbors with resources to cope with the violence when a shooting or violent crime occurs. The team made up of the Milwaukee Police Department, Community Partners and youth-serving agencies, churches, Project Ujima, Milwaukee Health Department, Department of Neighborhood Services and others will go into the neighborhood, knock on doors and talk to victims and residents. The team's focus is three fold:
To organize the community into block watch and to orchestrate a community meeting as a first step in bringing people together so they can work to prevent future incidents
To provide resources to neighbors – Teen Action Guide, DNS services, Health Department services – to demonstrate to the community that they are not alone
To signal to perpetrators that they have violated a community and that future such actions will not be tolerated
"As a community, we must no longer tolerate violence in our city," said Barrett.
The following is a list of groups and organizations that contributed to Milwaukee's Safe Summer program: the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Police Department, Community Development Block Grant Program, Private Industry Council, Milwaukee County Parks, YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, Safe & Sound, Social Development Commission – Community Partners, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Schools, Children's Outing Association, Running Rebels Community Organization, Milwaukee Community Sailing Center, UW-Milwaukee, Neighborhood House, Strive Media, Milwaukee Christian Center, Heart Love Place.