This summer, teens and young adults in Austin will enjoy multiple events and activities hosted by the 15th Police District and community partners.
The events of Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30), a date that traditionally marks the start of summer and an increase in violent crime, were announced at the 15th District’s monthly meeting of religious leaders.
On Memorial Day weekend, youth who participated in the 15th District Police Spring Explorer Program will be able to participate in a camping trip to Woodhaven Lakes in western Illinois. Teenagers will enjoy activities such as fishing, swimming and painting, said William Martinez, police officer and youth liaison officer.
The Police Explorers is a program that connects teens ages 10-24 with their local police officers. Following the Boy Scouts model, the youngest teens – ages 10 to 13 – explore what a career as a police officer looks like, receive basic training and are also introduced to careers in firefighting, government, journalism and medicine. Teens can then join the Explorers programs that interest them most, including the 15th Arrondissement Explorers.
Teens ages 13-24 who participate in 15th District Explorers learn about law enforcement from the police. They learn procedures such as fingerprinting and visit the police academy to see how officers are trained. Meeting weekly, they also engage with their peers and participate in other youth programs run by the 15th Arrondissement, such as Hip Hop Tuesdays.
The 15th District Police Explorer Summer Program begins June 15. It will include a 24-hour camping trip to Columbus Park open to Austin residents that will take place by the end of the summer.
Also during Memorial Day weekend, Austin youth and adults will be able to participate in faith-based community events such as peace circles, prayer times, music, worship and outdoor services, held in part of Hands Across Chicago.
It is a faith-based, city-wide initiative promoting peace that brings together faith-based organizations and the city’s 22 police districts to occupy spaces previously identified as “hotspots,” Dorin said. Pastor Mac» McIntyre of Mount Olivet Missionary Baptist Church.
sergeant. Darrick Scott said the event was tied to mobilization activities that brought 15th District police officers to the streets to engage with community members, a strategy to prevent violence in Austin.
Other activities for Austin youth will continue throughout the summer.
Grip Outreach for Youth, will continue to host SLAM, a faith-based youth sports and outreach program, at By The Hand Club for Kids located at 415 N. Laramie Ave.
Once a month, SLAM brings together about 70 teenagers with mentors, including teachers, ministers and other community leaders, who participate in games, team sports, Bible teachings and small group discussions. This summer, SLAM will meet weekly on Mondays from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., said SLAM director Will Wagner.
Children and teens can also participate in the weekly 15th Police District Youth Mentoring and Tutoring Program, which provides a safe space for young people to congregate, get help with homework and play games. games in the 15th District Community Hall at 5701 W. Madison St. Game consoles like Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch are available, along with a basketball ring, giant board games, and other games tables that young people like to play, Martinez said.
“Children work hard, don’t they? So if they raise their grades or keep their grades at an honorable level, they can add something new to the program,” Martinez said.
In the last three years they have added table tennis, an air hockey table and a basketball game.
Employment opportunities with the 15th District are also available for young adults through One Summer Chicago. Young adults ages 16-24 can join the Youth District Advisory Council to work as advocates for their community and partner with the police department to find solutions to the challenges they face.
“They are the youth voice for the community, so if there is something they feel they want to change in their community, they are the ones leading it. I just ask them for help at the gate,” Martinez said.
Young people are also working to help educate their peers about the great opportunities and organizations available to them in Austin, he said.
For more information about the 15th Police District’s youth programs, contact the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy office at 312-743-1495.
To learn more about Hands Across Chicago, visit: chiunitepray.com/hands-across-chicago-2022/#what.
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