[Charlotte, NC – June 5, 2017] – Last September, protests erupted on Charlotte streets, putting a spotlight on racial tension and distrust among neighbors. To address the underlying social issues in our community that can fuel anger, crime and violence, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) will launch Summer of Opportunity, a new youth program designed to reduce summer crime, build trust between teens and police and change the outcome for youth living in areas that fall most deeply into Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s opportunity gap.
“We look forward to working with the YMCA on Summer of Opportunity,” said Rob Tufano, director of public affairs for CMPD. “This great program will be an impactful investment in relationships between Charlotte teens and law enforcement, leading to healing and greater trust throughout our community.”
Summer of Opportunity is a seven-week summer program that offers teens free access to three neighborhood YMCAs on Friday and Saturday from 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm. The plan is based on similar and successful programs in Boston and Los Angeles. The total cost of Summer of Opportunity is $100,000 and made possible with $50,000 of support from the City of Charlotte and $50,000 from the YMCA which is also providing its facilities in-kind.
At the McCrorey, Stratford Richardson and Simmons YMCAs, trained staff and volunteers will create an environment that includes structured programming, but also allows teens to socialize with friends in activities like basketball, swimming, fitness and art. Participating youth will also receive a free meal provided by Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Program organizers are hoping to recruit 350 volunteers to serve as mentors.
“This collaborative effort gets to the root of issues that affect us all. Together, we will provide 1,000 teens a positive outlet for their time and energy this summer,” says YMCA of Greater Charlotte CEO Todd Tibbits. “We want our kids to know the doors to the Y are open to them. We are grateful to the many partners aligned to change the trajectory of local kids in need.”
About the YMCA of Greater Charlotte
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte, comprised of 19 membership locations and two resident camps, engages approximately 274,000 men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Deeply rooted in the community for 140 years, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. www.ymcacharlotte.org