8 Benton Harbor organizations create "Benton Harbor Summer Impact Program"
BENTON HARBOR, Mich.-8 Benton Harbor community organizations all came together with the same goal in mind: to create a safe community for the area’s youth. Benton Harbor’s “Summer Impact Program” is a brand new initiative for the city that all kids can enjoy.
Organizations that collaborated on this project include Benton Harbor Area Schools, Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety, Berrien Community Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor and the YMCA of Southwest Michigan, just to name a few.
“It’s just an awesome experience for these organizations to go into the parks of Benton Harbor and we’re really just there to empower the youth,” said Stephen Rockette, a Health & Wellness Supervisor at the Southwest Michigan YMCA.
The 8-week program was created with the idea to offer a safe environment for kids to engage in their community through education and physical activity with good nutrition, as well as bring programming to three of the city’s parks, Broadway, Hall and Union.
Activities like theater, public safety presentations, arts and crafts and physical education, will take place during the evening hours.
“What we’re trying to do is have what we call an outreach program to be able to touch children and forge relationships with them bring back that kind of officer friendly kind of persona,” said Dan McGinnis, Director of Benton Harbor’s Department of Public Safety.
Not only is this an opportunity for summer play, but for older kids to gain leadership experience.
“We’re excited that for students, these 25 students are getting job training,” said Brian Bennett, Founder of Overflow Church and Mosaic CCDA. “It’s not just a normal job, they’re getting to go into these parks and they’re acting as leaders now in the community,” Bennett said.
Kids can start their days with the program as early as noon at the Boys and Girls Club where they will get a free lunch and more play time. Once summer school begins on July 11 for Benton Harbor Area Schools, children will have the opportunity to be bussed directly to the Boys and Girls Clubs from summer classes.
Most activities take place during the evening hours, Mondays through Thursdays from 5-8 P.M.
If you’d like more information on the Summer Impact Program, click HERE. Or email BHsummerimpact@gmail.com
Hear more from the organizations here: