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City expanding summer program for teens in hopes of curbing violence on the north end

Posted at 8:33 PM, Jun 03, 2019

STUART, Fla. — On a hot summer day at Gaines Park Park in West Palm Beach you’ll find one dad braving the heat to keep his kids busy.

“There’s definitely a way to keep them out of trouble and keep them in the right direction,” Mr. Mays said.

For the Mays family that means a lot of different activities.

“At the beginning of the day we go to like our fine arts strings and piano,” Faith Mays said.

But in the north end of the city, not every child is presented with the same opportunities.

“It seems that violence seems to uptick during the summer,” Keith Jones said.

Jones is a community coordinator for the city. For the third consecutive summer, they will be hosting "Teens Unite" at local parks and community centers on the north end.

“It’s eight consecutive Saturday nights over the summer where we give middle and high school teens a safe place to gather,” he said.

Jones says this year the program is expanding, they’ve partnered with Urban Youth Impact to reach even more teens. Also, for the first time, they will host a trauma workshop.

“Really helping them understand how they can cope with a lot of the stuff they have seen or loved ones that have been shot or loss,” Jones said. “We feel like if we can change or save one life during this gathering we’ve accomplished something."