DC promises summer options for kids and urges parents to know ‘where your kids are’

D.C. leaders have been touting a drop in crime this year, and as public school students anticipate the end of the school year next week, officials are revealing their plans to keep kids engaged and continue moving in the right direction.

“I know kids from all over D.C. are excited — teachers are excited, and parents are excited too,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Bowser said the city is ready to offer young people and their families positive ways to spend all their free time.

“Now is the time when the entire government comes together, communities come together, parents talk to each other and their children, about how we’re going to have a safe, fun and engaging summer.”

The mayor touted city offerings, such as its 22 pools and 32 spray parks that will be open for all. She also said the city will have 8,700 summer camp slots available to kids.

The city will also have 100 meal sites open for kids who need them.

“There is no application required, no sign-up required and no ID required. So, show up and have your meal or snack and pick it up and take it home,” Bowser said.

As the city continues to combat youth crime, the city is also offering programs aimed at giving young people things to do, even during later hours. The city’s “Late Night Hype” outreach program aims to offer entertainment for teens and families from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday nights.

Bowser also touted the return of a program that’s been a summer tradition in the city for the past 45 years.

“In just a few weeks, more than 12,000 young people will begin their summer jobs through the Marion Barry summer youth program. It’s an amazing opportunity for our kids to earn and learn — that’s earn money and gain valuable experience,” Bowser said.

D.C. police Chief Pamela Smith warned that officers will also continue to enforce the city’s late-night curfew for teenagers. Smith urged parents to do their part and be involved with their children.

“Do you know where your children are? We are going to be very intentional this summer, specifically around youth engagement and how we interact with our youth in a positive way.

Smith also said they decided last year to kick off the city’s summer crime initiative in the winter, targeting high-crime areas including the neighborhoods of Rosedale, Washington Highlands and Anacostia.

“We’ve seen a significant reduction in crime today,” Smith said.

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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