Summer of Opportunity community program launches in Austin neighborhood

CHICAGO (WLS) -- To address the challenges facing struggling neighborhoods across Chicago, dozens of Austin-based community leaders, anti-violence groups and community organizations have been working since January to plan a series of events to directly intervene in violent situations and help more young people leave gangs or safely re-enter the community after incarceration.

On Friday, June 23, these efforts kick off with a Summer of Opportunity event. This community building celebration aims to connect young people with positive activities, summer jobs and resources to have a safe and successful summer. The event is spearheaded by BUILD, a 48-year-old not-for-profit community-based organization focused on violence intervention and youth development in Chicago's West and South sides.

ABC 7 sat down with Bradly Johnson, one of the event's organizers, and Chase Irvin, from the BUILD Youth Program, to learn more about the Summer of Opportunity.

The event will be held in the Austin neighborhood and will begin at 11 am with a Peace Parade that will proceed west on Jackson Blvd. from Cicero Ave. into Columbus Park, where families can learn about camps, summer jobs, and other resources from more than 50 social services providers, businesses and elected leaders, and enjoy music, food and family-friendly games and activities. Columbus Park is located at 500 S. Central Avenue in Chicago.

Organizers expect over 1,000 people to attend this first-time event including prominent members of the civic community, as well as other role models who care deeply about this mission and our city's kids.

For more information regarding the Summer of Opportunity event, visit
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