Organizers say it may be the first meeting of the 2009 summer kickoff, but it certainly won't be the last as long as the violence against children continues. Organizers say with three dozen Chicago Public Schools students killed during the school year this year and dozens and hundreds more injured by gun violence and gang violence, it's time for them to step up and save their children.
It's one small step this community hopes will help end the violence.
"Once I had so many groups coming to me, I said, why don't we put together a group of people. We can't do it by ourselves. We need to work together to save our youth," said Dorothy Brown, Clerk of the Cook Co. Circuit Court.
The first ever youth summer kickoff intends to bring parents, kids and their neighbors together in hopes of stopping gang gun and violence.
"The whole idea of having a real, a serious and structured youth program the entire summer. And then really highlighting those locations as safe havens, places that kids can go, some of them working and some of them for social activities," said Rev. Dr. Marshall Hatch, New Mount Pilgrim MB Church.
"Moving into the summer, we better set this bar right now and set this standard, because we've seen what's happened in the school year. What happens when warm weather comes and children are out of school? If we don't set that standard in the community, a child is going to be at risk every time he or she leaves their house," said Father Michael Pfleger, St. Sabina Catholic Church.
Kameryn Ewing came to the event, hoping to find something that would keep her summer safe.
"I'm trying to keep kids safe from dangerous things so they won't get hurt, they won't get killed, they won't get to be in the hospital," said Ewing.
the organizers want the kids that are participating in this event to understand that they have value. The goal of the event is to begin dialogue between communities that normally would be at odds. They're going to continue that work in hopes of keeping and making neighborhoods safe again for kids.