Thursday, May 31, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Dozens of residents gathered inside of the gymnasium of the Maywood Multipurpose Building, 200 S. 5th Ave., on May 26 for the official kickoff of the village’s Safe Summer Initiative.
Headed up by Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins and Maywood Trustee Isiah Brandon, each year, the initiative compiles a list of summer activities for young people to participate in during the summer months — young people like Lamaris Smith, 15.
Smith plays football at Proviso East High School in Maywood and basketball with Danka’s Basketball League (DBL), the largest organized amateur basketball organization in the village.
The teenager said that activities such as DBL or football “are very important” and that, if he didn’t have them, he’d “probably be in the house or outside doing stuff I ain’t supposed to be doing.”
Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins addresses young people and other community members on May 26 for the official launch of the village’s Safe Summer Initiative. | VFP
Proviso East student Anahi Soto, who is part of Brandon’s Youth Delegation, urged students to take advantage of the free activities.
“It’s the connections you make now that affect who you are later on,” she told a crowd of roughly 20 young basketball players who were milling about, anxious to play a game that day which was organized as part of the Safe Summer launch. The young people were also given a free lunch.
“It’s good to connect with people who are older than you,” Soto said. “Summer is the time to start [making those connections].”
Denise McDermott, the local group leader for Moms Demand Action’s Oak Park chapter, urged the young people gathered to join the fight for stricter gun laws, measures that could directly affect their own livelihood and the well-beings of their loved ones.
When Phyllis Duncan, the founder of Mothers of Murdered Sons — an organization based in Proviso Township for grieving women who have lost children to gun violence — asked if any of the kids had lost relatives to gun violence, at least nine raised their hands.
“We want to encourage you all to do productive activities this summer,” Duncan said, a sentiment that Perkins echoed.
“As we launch our Safe Summer Initiative, the safety of our citizens in this great village of Maywood is my number one priority,” Perkins said. “I am thrilled that so many people and organizations have put forth a range of programming for our young people to take advantage of.” VFP
Below is a photo of a flyer listing all of the Safe Summer-related programming: