Update from the Mayor – June 24, 2005
June 24, 2005
News from Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak
WORKING WITH KIDS TO KEEP OUR CITY WORKING
Along with the summer heat comes the challenge of keeping our kids busy with safe, fun, and productive activities. Keeping kids busy takes work, especially during the summer. But every dollar and every hour spent keeping our kids active helps to keep our city safe, clean, and fun. I’d like to take this chance to tell you about a couple of exciting efforts we’ve been working on to help support our City’s energetic young people this summer.
We are offering evening recreation.
This week we launched "Phat Summer," a popular free recreation program for 11-18 year olds, which for 11 years has provided safe and positive activities during the long summer evenings. This program keeps schools and park buildings open later into the evening to provide accessible, safe, supervised spaces and activities for kids. Activities include art, music, basketball, soccer, life skills, baking, writing and dancing.
Just a few weeks ago, the future of Phat Summer was in jeopardy for lack of funding. I knew that I could not stand by and let this program suffer. In May, I asked the North Way Community Trust to be a sponsor of Phat Summer for North Minneapolis and they responded with an incredible partnership investment of $100,000.
As a result of these efforts, Phat Summer is expected to provide evening activities for nearly 5,000 youth at 23 locations throughout Minneapolis from June 20th until August 12th from 7:00 PM until 10:00 PM (nights vary by location). You can read more about Phat Summer in today's Star Tribune online.
We are helping kids drive their own agenda.
As the elected chair of the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board we are working with Yo! The Movement and groups of teens throughout the city to canvass their neighborhoods looking for youth job and recreation resources. This project will inform the creation of a Minneapolis Children and Youth Agenda 2020 â€" a 15 year plan that will articulate what kind of city that we want for our children. Is important that this inclusive, interactive process engage our youth and I am proud that they are stepping up to create their own agenda. This week I met with teens at the TC Underground youth hangout center on Lake Street who are mapping out formal and informal kid-friendly resources. With the information the teens have gathered, they are now working on developing a youth recourse guide for kids in the Whittier neighborhood. Way to go!
We are providing valuable and fruitful job opportunities.
More than 1,100 youth are employed this summer through City of Minneapolis jobs programs. With my STEP UP project alone, we have trained and placed 320 highly qualified and motivated youth into meaningful summer jobs that align with their career interests and offer valuable work experience. STEP UP is doing exactly what I had hoped when I launched it in 2004 and I am very thankful for the business leaders who have helped provide jobs for our kids. We wish our working kids the best of luck in their new jobs and burgeoning careers! To learn more, check out the STEP UP website.
The recent crime spike reminds us of the consequences of letting our kids fall into the hands of guns and drugs. Rather than just ask "why is this happening?" let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work for our kids and the city they will inherit from us.
Published Jun. 24, 2005