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Tulare County communities and community partners work to bring fun for kids on Friday nights during summer

Tulare County communities and community partners work to bring fun for kids on Friday nights during summer

@TheSunGazette

TULARE COUNTY – Summer months in the Valley not only usher a spike in heat, but also a spike in crime. According to Tulare County, crime rates during summer peak between 8 p.m. and midnight. That is why in the of summer 2011, the Tulare County Step Up Advisory Committee challenged communities to get involved and to help provide positive, wholesome activities for youth during these critical hours.

The Summer Night Lights program is a collaborative initiative that will begin its eighth year in Tulare County this summer. Summer Night Lights provides positive programming and a safe environment for youth of all ages. Communities participating in this coordinated effort are Alpaugh, Allensworth, Cutler-Orosi, Dinuba, Exeter, Lindsay, London, Pixley, Porterville, Tipton, Tulare, Visalia, and Woodlake.  Community partners include the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, Boys and Girls Clubs, Tulare County Workforce Investment Department, Family HealthCare Network, CSET, Tulare County Office of Education/SEE, United Way, Tulare County Probation, Sheriff’s Department, cities, local law enforcement, school districts, local churches and more.

Vision of the Summer Night Lights program:

  • Keep a youth/family centered venue open at least one night in host communities.
  • Provides full time summer employment and specialized training for 22 Tulare County youth.
  • Provides positive programming for youth and families countywide.
  • Allows for positive interaction between youth and local law enforcement.
  • Gives youth and families a fun and safe environment.
  • Serves free food to all that attended.
  • Provides community organizations, including churches, a forum to introduce their services to the community.
  • Serves more than 27,000 youth and adults (summer 2015).

Goals:

  • Provide safe recreational opportunities for youth of all ages.
  • Reduce crimes committed by and against youth during the summer months.
  • Improve the local economy through jobs, training, and purchasing food and other supplies.

Communities county-wide are stepping up to bring the Summer Night Lights (SNL) program to youth and families throughout Tulare County featuring summer fun activities beginning this June and running through August. A list of local events include:

Exeter (All events 6 to 9 p.m. unless otherwise stated)

  • 7/5 – Community BBQ at Boys and Girls Club, 
  • 7/12 – Community BBQ at Boys and Girls Club, 
  • 7/19 – Swim Night at Exeter Union High School Pool 
  • 7/26 – Swim Night at Exeter Union High School Pool

Lindsay (All events 6 to 9 p.m. unless otherwise stated)

  • 6/21 – at McDermont Field House 
  • 6/14 – at Lindsay Ono City Park
  • 7/13 – at Lindsay Aquatic Center
  • 7/19 – at McDermont Field House
  • 8/2 – at McDermont Field House
  • 8/9 – at Lindsay Ono City Park (6-9:30 p.m.)

Woodlake (All events 6 to 9 p.m. unless otherwise stated)

  • 6/22 – Swim Night at Woodlake High School Pool 
  • 6/29 – Swim Night at Woodlake High School Pool 
  • 7/3 – Independence Day Blast at Miller Brown Park (5-9 p.m.) 
  • 7/6 – Swim Night at Woodlake High school Pool 
  • 7/13 – Swim Night at Woodlake High School Pool 
  • 7/20 – Swim Night at Woodlake High School Pool

Visalia (All events 6 to 9 p.m. unless otherwise stated)

  • 6/15 – Dodgeball at M. F. Hernandez Community Center
  • 6/16 – Swim Night at Mt. Whitney High School Pool
  • 6/23 – Swim Night at Mt. Whitney High School Pool 
  • 6/29 – Game Night at M. F. Hernandez Community Center 
  • 7/13 – Pajama Jam Movie Night at M. F. Hernandez Community Center
  • 8/3 – End of Summer Party at M. F. Hernandez Community Center 

Strathmore (Events 6 to 9 p.m. unless otherwise stated)

  • 6/22 – at Boys and Girls Club of Strathmore
  • 6/29 – at Boys and Girls Club of Strathmore
  • 7/7 – at Boys and Girls Club of Strathmore
  • 7/13 – at Boys and Girls Club of Strathmore 

Based on the Summer Night Lights program launched in the city of Los Angeles in 2011, Step Up tweaked the program to create a successful community oriented hybrid.  Since 2011, the Tulare County Summer Night Lights Program has been largely run by volunteers, with programming consisting of pool parties, dances, movies, sports nights and more. SNL’s main goal is to keep kids off the streets and engage them in positive activities, serving over 27,000 in 2015 alone. 

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