Neighborhoods USA Best Neighborhood Program award. Established in 1975, Neighborhoods USA is a national non-profit organization committed to building and strengthening neighborhood organizations.
Last summer, I started At the Park After Dark at the Glassell Park Recreation Center to keep it open until 11 p.m. and offer activities that we hoped would be of high interest to at-risk kids in the neighborhood. After a 16 year-old girl was shot and killed just two blocks from the Rec Center just a few months before school was going to let out for the summer, I knew we had to provide a safe, supervised place for young people during those long, hot months.
Our goal was to provide a great place for all of the neighborhood's diverse youth. We wanted to attract kids that might otherwise turn to gangs, and we succeeded in bringing a wide range of young people to the park for activities such as boxing, graffiti art, skateboarding, music, basketball, swimming, and soccer.
I want to extend many thanks to all of the people and organizations that made the program successful last summer, including the Department of Recreation and Parks, Department of General Services, Aztecs Rising, ArtStorm, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Glassell Park Improvement Association, and all of the parents and young people who participated in At the Park After Dark.
Last night in his State of the City address, Mayor Villaraigosa said he plans to add similar programs to other recreation centers across the city. I am looking forward to working with him to give more young people the opportunity to have a great place to go during the evening this summer.