As Dallas Police work to reduce violent crime in the city, the department is working with Dallas ISD on a project to keep kids safe during summer break. They introduced the "Summer of Safety" campaign outside South Oak Cliff High School on Thursday morning.
"It's a chance to not only keep [kids] busy and active, but it's also a chance for us to be out here and create trust between officers and our youth," said Police Chief Eddie Garcia.
Garcia says officers will lead athletic, educational and recreational events including bike safety, basketball camps, midnight basketball, movie nights, kickball, disc golf and painting.
"There is something for everyone, every kid," Garcia said. "We want our kids to have fun this summer and be safe as well. That's what it's all about when school is out, but we also want them to have a very enjoyable summer."
"When I was growing up right here in this city, I was blessed to have a hard-working and very tight-knit family," Mayor Eric Johnson said. "But I wasn't just raised by my parents or my older siblings, and neither were any of the kids I grew up around in West Dallas and later Oak Cliff. That's because communities raised children. In our neighborhoods, we didn't have much in the way of material things, but we had each other's backs."
Johnson said those relationships can build communities and keep people safe.
"We're all joining together to kick off what I've officially proclaimed as a 'Summer of Safety' in Dallas, Texas," Johnson said.
Johnson said the campaign will highlight programming already available to all kids in Dallas.
"We clearly have a need in this city to push out this information much more extensively than we have in the past," Johnson said, saying hundreds of kids are arrested for violent offenses in Dallas each year.
Dallas Parks and Recreation plans summer camps and other programs at 400 parks, 56 camps, 43 recreation centers, and 17 aquatic centers.
Dallas Parks and Rec is also introducing "Teen All Access Passes" which will allow entry to museums, the Dallas Zoo, and other attractions. The passes will be good from June 27 through July 31st. A complete list of attractions and details on how to sign up are available here.
Dallas Public Library has reading programs available and courses on things like how to fly a drone or start a podcast.
"We will support you at the library because if you can dream it, we will help you do it because the library's vision is 'limitless possibilities,'" said Dallas Public Library Director Jo Giudice.
Giudice says kids can also take music lessons and check out instruments to take home.
"It is time to have fun. It's the summer, and the Dallas Public Library will welcome everyone," Giudice said.
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