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Community Halloween event keeps Elkhart kids safe

ELKHART, Ind. -

Local community organizations held a Halloween event at the Roosevelt Center for kids on Sunday night.

While kids played games, got free candy and watched a movie-- their parents got some peace of mind knowing they were celebrating the holiday in a safe spot.

“Because of all the crime in the city, my children are limited as to what they can or cannot do,” said parent Amy Riley-Gilbert.

Riley-Gilbert is a longtime foster parent living in the city’s South Side.

“The most recent shooting involved one of my foster children and that was real scary because he’s one of the kids that I had concerns about and trying to keep him going in the right direction in life,” said Riley-Gilbert.

She is currently caring for five children.

“When I heard he had been shot I woke them up out of their sleep and I told them this is the very reason why I try to tell you to stay safe, know your environment, choose your friends right and let us know who your friends are,” said Riley-Gilbert.

With those goals in mind, Riley-Gilbert took her kids and others from her neighborhood to the event.

“It’s a little bit of a different approach to Halloween, a little bit more organized. It’s more of a controlled environment and a safe environment,” said Mayor Tim Neese.

The event was a first time collaboration between South Side Inc. and My Hood Needz Me. Both organizations hold community events and programs to improve life for those living in the South Side.

“Historically it’s been underfunded and underrepresented in a lot of different ways so we are here to tip the scales back,” said Jason Moreno of South Side Inc.

 “We’d really like the citizens of Elkhart to get out and be more involved in our community, especially the long term citizens and help make our city a safer place. We  can start with the youth in today’s generation and help them grow into responsible adults in the community,” said Aaron Holliday of My Hood Needz Me.

For more information about upcoming events hosted by South Side Inc., click here. Keep up with My Hood Needz Me by clicking here.

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