Summer vacation is officially underway in New Haven, but is there enough to keep kids and teens entertained and out of trouble all summer long?
The mayor and other city officials want to make sure kids and teens don't just have idle time on their hands, and their plan could benefit thousands of other residents.
“One of the things that we want is for all the children in our community is for them to have something positive and productive to do,” said New Haven Mayor Toni Harp.
Harp, along with the superintendent of schools and the chief of police, held a press conference Wednesday to roll out all the city's summer activities for residents this year.
Among the options are Parks and Recreation activities held on school property, community-based summer camps, Youth at Work jobs, school-specific weekly programs and transition programs for incoming high school seniors.
The city held a Summer Youth Expo last week to help students explore their options and sign up for summer programs.
“For those kids that we know are disengaged and really don't believe in us anymore,” said Mayor Harp, “we're going to reach out to them, reach out to their families and give them some really fun things to do.”
J.R. Fredette, a father of two and a basketball coach, gives it two thumbs up.
“If that's what they're going to use the taxpayers' money for, sure! Sounds like the best way to use it in my eyes,” Fredette said.
And while there's a huge focus on youth this year, the mayor says there's something here for everyone – from ages 3 to 103. The city's departments are teaming up to provide recreational activities for adults, seniors and the elderly, too.
“I think that most people who have a negative impression of new haven don't know us,” said Harp.
And residents are getting a chance to know their new mayor with a new plan for a safe and fun summer in the Elm City.