MAYOR EMANUEL AND CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT ANNOUNCE EXPANDED SUMMER SAFE PASSAGE PROGRAM
Building on the success of the 2016 Summer Safe Passage pilot program, Mayor Emanuel today announced that the Chicago Park District will partner with the Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Safety and Security team for an expanded Summer Safe Passage this year. The program will increase by 50 percent, offering 31 park locations and doubling the number of days of Safe Passage coverage to four days per week for Summer Teen League.
“Every child deserves a safe place to play and just be a kid,” Mayor Emanuel said. “We all share in the responsibility to make certain our kids are safe as they engage in recreation at their local park. With the expansion of this program, we are doubling down on a model that we know will keep our young people safe.”
The expansion of Summer Safe Passage ensures more than 3,000 teens can travel safely back and forth as they participate in summer recreational programming. Last year’s pilot program included 21 park locations with two days of Safe Passage coverage per week for Summer Teen League and Windy City Hoops program sites.
“We are pleased to partner with Chicago Public Schools to implement the Safe Passage program again this summer,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly. “In addition to providing programs like Windy City Hoops and Teen Leadership Camp to keep our young people engaged in constructive activities, we also want to make sure they feel secure on the way to and from these programs.”
Summer Safe Passage will serve teens participating in the Chicago Park District’s Summer Teen Sports League and Windy City Hoops program. The Summer Teen Sports League begins on July 11 and runs through August 18. It serves ages 13-18 on Tuesday-Friday evenings from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Windy City Hoops is offered year round. Games are played twice a week that culminate in playoffs and a championship each season. The program serves ages 13-18 on Friday and Saturday nights from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Both are free and offered at multiple parks across the city.
“The Summer Safe Passage program is indicative of the type of ‘all-hands’ effort we need to make our communities safer,” said CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “By coming together to let children travel safely to Chicago parks and summer recreational programs, we are giving them a positive alternative to the streets. I would like to thank CPS and the Park District for this important partnership.”
The expanded summer safe passage will employ 250 workers responsible for serving as eyes and ears for teens participating in these basketball programs at select parks. The Chicago Park District will pay for the total cost of the program. The CPS Office of Safety and Security will provide training to each of the workers to ensure that they are equipped with relationship-building skills, de-escalation strategies and knowledge of other safety protocols to support youth participants as they travel to and from the sites this summer.