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"Safe Haven Initiative" hosts volunteers meeting

Posted at 10:29 AM, May 26, 2022

Over 15 volunteers showed up after council members from Lafayette Parish announced a new Summer program initiative to combat teen gun violence.

“Despite giving the kids an opportunity, to have a place, a place to go and socialize, have some fun and learn about respect." resident Anna Castille said.

As gun violence among youth continues to be an issue,

Parish Councilman “AB” Rubin says this program is open to all Middle and High school students.

Whether kids who are prone to committing gun crimes would attend the program is also in question.

“You'll be surprised. You know these children. They're scared themselves. they're carrying guns because they feel threatened. So, if you give a child a space to go. They'll still come,” Rubin said.”

“I think some of them will because it’s teenagers,” Castille said.

Although crime is expected to increase during the Summertime, according to authorities. Some are concerned if a long-term solution would be put in place after the season.

“I'll deal with it when I get to a bridge, I'll cross it. I’ve go to start somewhere and I have to see what happens with this. And then after this, as I said before, if it works out, which I'm expected to, once a month, bring these children together when a Safe Haven Saturday night,” Rubin said.

Transportation may also be an issue for students attending the program Rubin says students are able to use Public Transit with school identification.

“If five to ten kids get on the bus at one time, I’m ok with that because they’re going to watch out for each other. I don’t recommend one child at a time, like a middle schooler getting on a city bus, I do not recommend that” Rubin added. “But I would prefer the community stepping up and bringing the children. I’d feel a lot safer with that,” he said.

Rubin said it would take around 3000 dollars a week to make the program a success.

LCG has agreed to pay for the Girard Park Recreational Center during the summer program hours, as well as for background checks. However, no specifics on where the money would come from were given.

"There's some money with the Rec department right now. It might come from that. It might come from the general fund, ARPA (American Rescue Plan), we still have ARPA money. There are many places that we're going to reach out and grab, because this is too important not to grab these monies," Rubin said.

The Safe Haven Initiative will start on Saturday, June 4 at Girard Park. Middle school and High school students are invited to attend. Students only need to sign in upon arrival.

Safe Haven Initiative Saturday Itinerary:

6- 7 p.m.- Meet and Greet

7 p.m. Breakout sessions (tutoring, A.R. reading, counseling, and life coaching)

7:30 p.m.: Motivational Speaker

8:00-10:30 p.m. Free time (Board games, basketball, Foosball, etc.)

For a list of Summer Programs click here.

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