LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti today kicked off the 10th consecutive year of Summer Night Lights (SNL), a landmark program that keeps parks and recreation centers open late to provide young people and families with safe, fun gathering spaces during the summer months.
Hundreds of Angelenos joined the Mayor, Councilmember Curren Price, police and fire officials, and SNL supporters for the evening celebration at Ross Snyder Recreation Center in South L.A.
“Every family in Los Angeles deserves safe places to spend time together, have fun with their neighbors, find new opportunities and resources, and create strong relationships with the people who serve them,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Summer Night Lights has made all of that possible for countless Angelenos over an incredible decade of success, and created a model for building stronger communities in cities across America.”
SNL is a signature initiative of the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development (GRYD) — offering free food and activities at 32 City parks, and connecting young people and families with job opportunities and other resources. The program also aims to help reduce crime and violence during the summer months.
In 2007, then-Councilmember Garcetti founded ‘At the Park After Dark’ in response to a fatal shooting near a local park. The following year the program was expanded across the City as Summer Night Lights.
SNL is an essential component of the comprehensive GRYD strategy, which includes gang prevention, gang intervention, violence interruption, community engagement, and juvenile gang reentry programs.
Mayor Garcetti has expanded GRYD services, bringing both prevention and intervention work to every GRYD zone for the first time. A 2016 evaluation report found that 83.4% of GRYD clients decreased their risk of gang joining overall; and a new study by researchers at Cal State L.A. and UCLA found that GRYD intervention work prevented 185 gang-related violent crimes across L.A. over a two-year period — including an estimated 10 fewer homicides,175 fewer aggravated assaults, and 43.2 percent fewer gang retaliations.
Since 2008, there have been more than 5.6 million SNL site visits for activities ranging from healthy cooking classes and sports leagues, to dance and art workshops.
The program works to directly re-invest in Angelenos most affected by unemployment by creating a broad range of local job opportunities. In 2017, SNL will employ over 850 Angelenos of all ages — including 352 young people. Members of the Youth Squad receive training in everything from community organizing and outreach, to how to spot the signs of human trafficking and provide trauma-informed services.
On top of the free meals, entertainment, sports, and art activities, SNL sites will have booths with information on educational and job opportunities for young people, resources for families experiencing domestic violence, and more.
The generous support of foundation and corporate donors pays for about half the program's cost, demonstrating the effectiveness of the public-private partnership. SNL program partners include LAPD, Department of Recreation and Parks, Department of Cultural Affairs, the Hungry Hog & Starving Steer, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and Los Angeles area professional sports teams, among others.
The Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles (MFLA), an organization that brings together private, philanthropic, non-profit, and government resources to sponsor programs, works closely with the GRYD Foundation to partner with private donors for the SNL program. Donors to the 2017 SNL Programming include the Walt Disney Company, the Weingart Foundation, Katie McGrath & the J.J. Abrams Family Foundation, the LA Dodgers Foundation, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, LA84, and the Eisner Foundation.
SNL will run from 7 p.m.-11 p.m., June 28-August 5 and August 11-August 25 at the following locations:
- 109th Street Recreation Center
- Algin Sutton Recreation Center
- Costello Recreation Center
- Cypress Park Recreation Center
- Delano Recreation Center
- El Sereno Recreation Center
- Glassell Park Recreation Center
- Green Meadows Recreation Center
- Highland Park Recreation Center
- Hubert Humphrey Recreation Center
- Imperial Courts Recreation Center
- Jackie Tatum Harvard Recreation Center
- Jim Gilliam Recreation Center
- Lanark Recreation Center
- Lemon Grove Recreation Center
- Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center
- Montecito Heights Recreation Center
- Mount Carmel Recreation Center
- Nickerson Gardens Recreation Center
- Normandale Recreation Center
- Normandie Recreation Center
- Ramon Garcia Recreation Center
- Ramona Gardens Recreation Center
- Ross Snyder Recreation Center
- Sepulveda Recreation Center
- Slauson Recreation Center
- South Park Recreation Center
- Sun Valley Recreation Center
- Toberman Recreation Center
- Valley Plaza Recreation Center
- Van Ness Recreation Center
- Wilmington Recreation Center
For more information, please visit http://grydfoundation.org/programs/summer-night-lights/.