Meridian, Miss Youth crime is a problem that no one wants to see, especially meridian department of parks and recreation. During summer months, kids are out of school and home all day, and the problem of youth crime usually goes up, but Kelvin McGruder and his staff are working hard to make programs to help give the kids an alternative.
Kelvin McGruder says "one of the initiatives we've done this summer was summer league basketball. What it did was it took kids off the street and put them in a gym. It gives them something they love to do and provides a safe environment for them to learn and grow. We are talking about 200 kids age 10 through 17."
Basketball is a new addition for this summer, but parks and rec. didn't stop at just the summer months, they plan on going into a new school year with a bang.
McGruder says "one thing is in august we are going to have a back to school pool party, something that's different and teen only. At the pool you see in the park, we are going to have a live DJ, music, fun and games and activities. Basically what we are doing is giving kids an alternative in the evening times we find that’s when most of the crimes occur. So we are just doing something a little different."
Giving kids an incentive outside of school is important, but McGruder and his staff also want the kids to excel in the class room as well, hoping to set them up for success later in life.
McGruder says "one of the initiatives that the mayor has in place is for education initiatives. We are doing 'pizza with Percy' which means that if you have honor roll grades during every 9 weeks, we provide pizza to each school. We also do what’s called 'Percy-fection' which is if you have the highest grades in the class with A's a donor will provide you with a $100 gift card.”