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Cincinnati community, city leaders work together to prevent youth violence in the summer

Cincinnati youth violence
Posted at 8:43 PM, May 25, 2023

CINCINNATI — With summer quickly approaching, city leaders are trying to make sure kids have somewhere to go to stay off the streets.

According to data, youth violence in Cincinnati sees an increase in the summer months. Community leaders say it’s absolutely vital that young people have places to go to stay out of trouble, have fun and simply be kids. But those places are hard to come by for teens in Cincinnati.

"Those spaces don't exist for kids 12 and up," said Pastor Ennis Tait.

Tait said teens are often pushed out of places they try to hang out.

"Some of them get kicked out of the library, they get kicked out of the Hirsch recreation center, they get kicked out of every place that they go, just simply because there's a lot of negative energy and a lot of our young people are dealing with anger management issues," Tait said. 

City data shows over the last five years, on average, there has been a 16% increase in youth crime in the summer months.

"Sometimes it's hard because there's not much to do outside because it's like really dangerous outside," said 10-year-old Jaz'zaryah Godfrey. "Because it's a lot of shooting and killing and stuff and it's dangerous and, it's just not safe."

There are community and city collaborative efforts to change this, like the summer programs at seven hills neighborhood houses.

"Just enjoy their time, make sure they're living, enjoying their summer," said Tommie McBride, coordinator of victims of crime advocacy with Seven Hills Neighborhood Houses.

At Seven Hills’ summer program kids can box, play basketball, dodgeball, garden, do cooking classes and more.

If they get the proper funding they need from the city, seven hills' summer programs will be free.

Tait is also working with the city on a program called Peace Builders Network. It's a comprehensive safety plan to address youth violence involving city government, businesses, law enforcement and more. Tait said in order to address youth violence, it's going to take all of us.

"It’s not something that's gonna happen overnight, but when it does finally get where it needs to be, it’s going to be huge, because now you have a movement," he said.

Seven Hills hopes to have an answer on the city funding in the next couple of weeks.

Hamilton County Job and Family Services also has a Youth Employment Program that helps people ages 14-21 find employment, career exploration, training, and industry credentials. They are partnered with 141 businesses across Hamilton County and pay $13 dollars an hour.

Some of the businesses they are partnered with include Cincinnati Zoo:

  • Animal Ark Pet Resort
  • Timeless Recording Studios
  • Midwest ProTech
  • Revolution Dance Theatre
  • Cincinnati Sports Club
  • Easley Blessed Media (Youth Podcast)

They offer training opportunities in:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Digital Media
  • Personal Branding

To learn about the city's 10-week Summer Day Camp Program, click here. Information on the Cincinnati Youth to Work program can be found here.

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