Philadelphia, June 11, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter kicked off the fourth annual Fun Safe Philly Summer campaign, a citywide initiative that connects youth in Philadelphia to free and low-cost summer programming, free summer meals, and teen summer jobs and opportunities.
“Summer offers an opportunity for youth of all ages in Philadelphia to try new things, have fun, and give back to their communities,” says Mayor Nutter. “For younger children, camps and clubs offer chances to explore the outdoors, create works of art, and keep the learning they do in school throughout the year fresh in their minds. For teens, summer jobs can be a great way to build leadership skills and confidence, and earn a little money in the process. There are endless options for staying active and getting involved this summer: read to a sibling, attend a free concert or outdoor movie, or organize a game in your local park. Whatever you do, be safe and have fun.”
Mayor Nutter started the Fun Safe Philly Summer initiative in 2012 in an effort to share information with Philadelphia youth and families about the many summer opportunities that the city offers. In April 2015, Fun Safe Philly Summer organized the Mayor’s Teen Summer Job & Opportunities Fair, which connected teens and young adults ages 16-21 with summer employment and volunteer opportunities.
The kick-off event, held at Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center, included a resource fair, free healthy snacks for youth, and drop-in sports and activities led by volunteers from MVP360, the Philadelphia Area Disc Alliance, Playworks, and the Philadelphia Jumping Jems. In addition to the free U. S. Department of Agriculture snacks provided through the Department of Parks and Recreation, donations of healthy snacks and water were provided by Trader Joe’s and Cousin’s Supermarkets. The Phillie Phanatic attended the kick-off on behalf of the Philadelphia Phillies and additional volunteer support was provided by SERVE Philadelphia AmeriCorps VISTAs, Continental Societies and the Mayor’s Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative.
“Fun Safe Philly Summer is Philadelphia’s resource for summertime fun and food for youth,” says Maia Jachimowicz, Director of Policy for the Office of the Mayor, who oversees the work of Fun Safe Philly Summer. “This summer we are pleased to continue to host a series of free “Pop-Up” events in neighborhoods across Philadelphia to provide fun, healthy activities for youth, in partnership with the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Fund for Philadelphia, the Garces Foundation, and the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.”
The 2015 Fun Safe Philly Summer “Pop Up” schedule is as follows:
- The U on Tour: Come join the Philadelphia Union for a soccer extravaganza!
July 8, 5-8pm, Vare Recreation Center (Morris & 26th)
- Pool Party: Grab your shades and a towel and come take a dip!
July 15, 5-8pm, Mander Recreation Center (33rd & Diamond)
- Skateboard Skills & Tricks: No experience necessary! Let’s shred.
July 29, 5-8pm, Grays Ferry Crescent Skatepark (3600 Grays Ferry Ave)
- Ice Skating: Beat the heat and enjoy a night at the ice rink!
August 5, 5-8pm, Scanlon Ice Rink (1099 E Venango St)
- Pump & Jump: Bring your friends and race around the bicycle Pumptrack!
August 12, 5-8pm, Philly Pumptrack (Parkside Avenue near 53rd St)
- Dance Party: Join the STAMP Program for a museum dance party in Old City.
August 14. Visit www.phillystamppass.org closer to the date for more details.
Throughout the spring and summer, Fun Safe Philly Summer works to compile a database of free, low-cost, and scholarship-available camps, classes, and clubs. This information is then shared via the city’s Youth Programs website at www.funsafephillysummer.com, along with a printable “101 Free Things to Do in the Summer” guide that includes suggestions for free events and do-it-yourself activities. Fun Safe Philly Summer also works to promote the many free drop-in activities offered by the Free Library of Philadelphia, the KEYSPOT computer lab network, and the Department of Parks & Recreation.
Susan Slawson, First Deputy Commissioner for Recreation and Programs said, “The Department of Parks and Recreation offers affordable, fun and safe summer opportunities for youth of all ages in neighborhoods throughout the City. Our programs serve the diverse needs of our youth no matter their interest; such as the arts, athletics, outdoor education or computer classes.”
Each year with the help of a team of AmeriCorps VISTAs, Fun Safe Philly Summer conducts significant on-the-ground outreach in high-need neighborhoods of Philadelphia to spread the word about the U.S. Department of Agriculture free summer meals program. All youth 18 and under, as well as students with disabilities 19 and older who are enrolled in a school program, are eligible to receive free summer meals. Once school ends, youth and families can call the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger at 1-855-252-6325, text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877, or visit http://www.phillysummermeals.org to find locations for free summer meals in their community. Select summer meal sites open on Monday, June 22, 2015, with additional sites opening in the following weeks.
“Summer can be a time of hunger for many children who rely on school breakfast and lunch throughout the year,” said Jim Harmon, Regional Director of Special Nutrition Programs for the United States Department of Agriculture. “We are proud to join Mayor Michael Nutter and his Fun Safe Philly Summer campaign in their efforts to raise awareness about the nutrition gap low-income children face when schools close for the summer. The City of Philadelphia does a great job with the summer program, ensuring that children have access to nutritious food year-round.”
Trinity Busch, Executive Director of the Garces Foundation, added, “Here at Garces Foundation, we strongly believe in making healthy living accessible to all Philadelphians. The success of this goal is largely dependent on the youth of our city being educated on healthy lifestyle choices and available resources. We are excited to take part in the Fun Safe Philly Summer Kick-Off and proudly stand behind the Mayor’s mission.”