There needs to be summer jobs for kids. Also, there needs to be after school programs, safe havens and community activities for kids to do. That is something that will keep them safe.
Offer more programs for the kids, like, for instance, free basketball sessions. I was thinking that if I had the money, I would offer boxing, and that way they could work off any aggression. You would make them shake hands. When they see the person on the street again, they will say he’s a cool guy. Offer something that would get them away from the streets and guns because we are losing too many young people.
My parents, the Rev. Dr. Shelvin Jerome and Lucy Hall, were dedicated to the youth. Year after year, we presented scholarships and encouraged the kids to go to college, and those programs continue. I think one of the biggest activities that has been at the church for youth during the summer has been Vacation Bible School, which has extended more and more throughout the years. So, in order to keep children safe, we need to keep them in organized activities. But the one thing my parents did for us, and the reason that we were able to become successful as adults, was to organize our time. There was always something for us to do. But they knew at all times where we were. It is very important to keep children focused in activities that are of interest to them.
I think that having an adult present is very important, and also providing other outlets for kids. When they don’t have school, they don’t have structure; sometimes parents have to work. So I guess finding other outdoor activities for them to do would provide some structure.
I think we should have lots of activities for our kids, especially during the day, [and] especially for those from age 5 to 16. They really need a lot of stuff to do and our community needs to work harder at these activities. We all need to get involved, developing teams and working with them as coaches, observers and cheering them on. The kids need that kind of positive support.
Justin “J.D.” McCarthy
I believe-as would have my dad who is being honored today- is to have extra curriculum activities for them. The park district, swimming, sports-just get them involved in their community, even if it’s gardening, like with this Green Team we have here.