'Put the guns down!' Boy, 8, calls for end to Chicago violence

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The violence is all too real for TJ Donald, an 8-year-old boy taking part in Chicago's Safe Haven summer program at Saint John Bible Church.

"He didn't even go to second grade. He didn't grow up to be a grown-up," TJ said of Amari Brown, the 7-year-old boy shot to death over the weekend. "People need to learn to put the guns down. Put them down."

TJ is one of about 12,000 Chicago Public School students who are participating in the Safe Haven program, which started Monday at 120 churches and community centers in the city. It runs through August 14, and is free to CPS students.

"We have to let these kids there are some people out there that are concerned, that cares. We are there for you as much as possible," Margaret Acree, Greater Saint John Bible Church, said.

Safe Haven offers workshops on positive conflict resolution, anger management and anti-bullying and anti-violence. To see a full list of Safe Haven locations and find out more about the program, visit cps.edu.

The Chicago Park District said there are still slots available at dozens of summer day camps across the city.

The park district serves more than 40,000 campers ages 6-12 with a season of supervised activity at more than 230 local parks. Campers go on field trips, explore nature and enjoy the pools.

Most camps run for six hours a day, Monday to Friday. Many parks also offer early morning or late-day sessions.

Fees vary, but Chicago Park District officials said they will not turn away a child who can't pay.

Day camps run through Aug. 7.

For more information on day camp programs, visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com.
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