About this project
The City of Gainesville seeks to expand Summer Heatwave, a popular and beneficial program serving over 500 youth during summer months.
Summer Heatwave is a partnership between Gainesville Police Department (GPD), the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department (PRCA) and the State Attorney’s Office and is thought to be one of the factors leading to a reduction in local juvenile crime. Operation Respect Yourself Pool Parties, HeatWave Basketball and Summer Teen Lounges offer a place for engagement between GPD and local youth and curriculum adopted by PRCA encourages positive youth development through a nationally sponsored program called Character Counts. Overall, Summer Heatwave provides a place for youth to go during evening hours, with activities ranging from structured team sports to a Life Skills class that is mandatory for all youth to open lounges to socialize and play games.
Gretchen Casey, from the State Attorney’s Office, explains the program's effect, “For the past four years, during the times that HeatWave Basketball program operated, the occurrence of juvenile crimes was lower than other times throughout the year. I think it is quite possible that Heatwave was responsible for at least some of the drop in juvenile offenses during the hours of 6 and 10 p.m., late June through late August.”
Summer Heatwave has been featured as a best practice for building partnerships and community impact by the National Recreation and Park Association.
The City of Gainesville looks to further the success of the programing to help even more youth. With additional funding, the radius of service can be broadened to other neighborhoods where the youth can benefit from the positive activities and life skills development. The expansion will allow more basketball games can be played, transportation between recreation centers can be offered, as well as other activities such as movie nights, fitness classes, arts and more. The additional funds will expand the programs to serve over 1,000 youth, 500 more than last summer!
The City has $10,000 budgeted for the 2014 Summer Heatwave program and in order to provide this expansion in services, $10,720 will need to be raised. It is a small price for investing in the youth of our community!
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