Summer Night Lights

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Police Chief Charlie Beck, and Council President Eric Garcetti, kicked-off the fourth year of the Summer Night Lights (SNL) program by announcing its expansion from 24 to 32 locations across the City.

“Expanding Summer Night Lights into more neighborhoods in Los Angeles widens the program’s reach to keep even more at-risk youth busy during the long, restless summer nights when the cycle of violence traditionally escalates,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “We are all excited to experience another successful summer and are thrilled that more communities will reap the benefits of this truly inspirational and effective program.”

Summer Night Lights, the community-based, violence reduction initiative, keeps City parks open after dark with organized activities such as athletic leagues, art initiatives and family programs, while also providing at-risk youth with job opportunities and a safe place to spend the summer. The guiding philosophy of SNL is to provide programming for the entire community, both potential victims and potential perpetrators of violence. In addition, SNL creates safe environments, engages community members of all generations, and
provides employment opportunities in communities most impacted by violence.

Summer Night Lights
Summer Night Lights

“Summer is our busiest time of the year–children are out of school on summer break, often with nothing to keep them occupied,” said Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. “Giving children a safe haven is crucial during the time of year when they are most vulnerable to negative influences. This is why Summer Night Lights has become such an important part of keeping the City safe.”

Last summer, neighborhoods in areas surrounding SNL sites experienced a 40% reduction in gang-related part 1 crimes and a 57% reduction in gang-related homicides. Also in 2010, over 710,000 Angelenos visited the 24 sites and a total of 382,523 meals were served at all of the SNL sites combined.

“Summer Night Lights protects youth from being victimized by gangs and from falling into gang life,” Council President Eric Garcetti said. “The youth that Summer Night Lights serves are at a critical juncture. The experiences they have and the decisions they make now can shape their entire lives. We owe it to them, and our neighborhoods, to keep them on the right track.”

Since its launch in 2008, Summer Night Lights has been recognized as a national model for violence reduction and community empowerment. Chief of Staff Jeff Carr and Deputy Mayor of Gang Reduction and Youth Development Guillermo Cespedes recently presented the program at the National Gang Center Conference in Tampa, Florida. Deputy Mayor Cespedes has also been consulting with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention on how to implement the principles of Summer Night Light’s violence reduction strategy.

Summer Night Lights sites are selected by three characteristics: high concentrations of young people, families living below the poverty line and gang related violence.  The program has three major components:

– Extended Hours & Programming: Between July and September, SNL sites extend their hours until midnight. SNL program hours are from 7 p.m. to midnight four nights a week (Wednesday – Saturday). Expanded programming includes community-centered recreational, educational and artistic programming to engage youth in positive activities during peak times for violence.

– Youth Squad: 10 community youth are hired to create and staff the extended hours and programs (320 city-wide).Youth Squad members are at-risk youth, ages 17-20, and receive stipends for the duration of the program.  Training is provided to the Youth Squad prior to the kick-off of the program and includes topics such as life skills, communication, and community outreach.

– Cease-Fire/Maintaining Peace: Community intervention workers are assigned to each SNL site to help keep the peace at the site, in the surrounding communities, to address potential conflicts, and to assist in identifying resolutions to conflicts. Their participation contributes to maintaining a high level of safety and community participation at the SNL sites.

The comprehensive community program works in partnership with the Department of Recreation and Parks, the LAPD, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Conservation Corps and the LA Unified School District (LAUSD).

The 2011 participating parks and recreation centers are:

SNL Returning Sites
1.      Cypress Park (CD 1)
2.      Delano (CD 6)
3.      Glassell Park (CD 13)
4.      Highland Park (CD 1)
5.      Hubert Humphrey (CD 7)
6.      Imperial Courts (CD15)
7.      Jackie Tatum Harvard Park (CD 8)
8.      Jim Gilliam (CD 10)
9.      Jordan Downs (CD 15)
10.     Lemon Grove (CD 13)
11.     Lou Costello (CD 14)
12.     Martin Luther King (CD 8)
13.     Mt. Carmel (CD 8)
14.     Nickerson Gardens (CD 15)
15.     Normandale (CD 15)
16.     Ramona Gardens (CD 14)
17.     Ramon Garcia (CD 14)
18.     Ross Snyder (CD 9)
19.     Sepulveda (CD 7)
20.     Slauson (CD 9)
21.     South Park (CD 9)
22.     Valley Plaza (CD 2)
23.     Van Ness (CD 8)

SNL 2011 New Sites
1.      Montecito Heights-  (CD 1)
2.      Lafayette- (CD 10)
3.      Lanark (CD 3)
4.      Sun Valley (CD 6)
5.      Algin Sutton (CD 8)
6.      Green Meadows (CD 9)
7.      Toberman (CD 1)
8.      El Sereno (CD 14)
9.      Wilmington (CD 15)

SNL is made possible by a combination of public and private funds. The following organizations have generously contributed to this
·       Walmart
·       HACLA
·       Weingart Foundation
·       The California Endowment
·       Rose Hills Foundation
·       The Annenberg Foundation
·       Eisner Foundation
·       Ahmanson Foundation
·       LA84 Foundation
·       Anonymous Donors
·       The California Wellness Foundation
·       The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
·       Rosenthal Charitable Trust
·       Southern California Gas
·       Sony Pictures Entertainment
·       AT & T
·       Hauptman Family Foundation
·       The Walt Disney Company
·       County of Los Angeles
·       Department of Cultural Affairs
·       Montrose Community Church
·       Zenith National Insurance Co.
·       The California Healthcare Foundation
·       The Hitachi Foundation
·       Hitachi SCRCAC
·       Vans
·       Paramount Pictures
·       Paramount Citrus
·       Jarritos

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