Safe Summer Kickoff Gives Community Positive Options

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DES MOINES, Iowa —  “We`ve been doing the safe summer kickoff here at Evelyn K. Davis Park for over a decade,” said Des Moines Police Chief, Dana Wingert. “And, it gives us an opportunity right at the start of summer to get the community out, get the Parks Department out here, get the Police Department out here, let everybody know that this is our park. This is a place where you can come have a great time, be safe.”

And to promote that safety, programs are offered throughout the summer.

“During the day, and during the week, you`ll see youth programs up here run by the parks department, all day long, feeding breakfast, feeding lunch, keep them active, keep them moving,” said Chief Wingert. “Just a great environment. One of those amenities that we want the neighborhood to take advantage of.”

Miranda Pettus is the Recreation Program Coordinator for Evelyn K. Davis Park, for the City of Des Moines’ Park and Recreation Department.

“We are partnering with the Forest Avenue Library,” said Pettus. “So, they`ll be doing a weekly reading program, as well as a weekly STEM program…we’ve got the ASAP summer arts program. That`s a camp. This will be their tenth year here hosting their camp, very positive very good group. We`ve got some basketball tournaments going on throughout the summer, some football camps, just daily recreational activities.”

There are lots of options for community members to stay out of trouble, stay safe, and get involved in something constructive.

“They can work out, they can shoot hoops, they can do anything that they need, anything they want,” said Charles Mercer, Executive Director of the John R. Grubb Community YMCA. “We have some community partners here that are providing resources, so…Iowa State’s here, United Way’s here, so just allowing people the opportunity for a safe space, a fun environment, some food going on, and just let everybody know that it should be and will be a safe summer.”