Programs keeping kids safe during summer months

Posted at 10:24 PM, Jun 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-01 22:42:48-04

WEST MICHIGAN - School is almost out for the summer, leaving some parents unsure of safe alternatives available for their children during the summer months.

The 'Paul I. Phillips Teen Center' is having their grand opening on June 8th, Near Madison and Franklin in Grand Rapids; Touting a positive environment for kids to go to during the summer months. They do have some final touches to make before opening their doors but say they're gearing up for a summer like never before.

They're not the only facility giving kids options this summer.

Erin Crison, Director of Program Development at the 'Boys and Girls Club,' understands children need a positive environment during the summer season.

"Monday, June 8th at 11 a.m. programming begins," said Crison. "Kids and teens can start to come down to the 'Paul I. Phillips Teen Center' for just $5 per year."

The facility includes a cafeteria, performing arts room and video games.

"When kids are engaged in positive activities and a positive place to go, they're less likely to get involved in not so positive things," said Crison.

Organizers say it's a way to deter juvenile crime in the summer months, giving kids that may not have a lot of options a safe place to be.

"So it gives teens an chance to come here after school and during the summer a place to be around adults that care about them," said Crison.

Although, the 'Boys and Girls Club' is not the only entity investing in the lives of children. Stan Kiste, Executive Director at '3 Mile Project,' said he's been creating a safe haven for kids for four years.

"We live in a culture that tends to tear each other down instead of building each other up, and so we felt there needed to be a place where kids could come and have fun, be safe, and be part of a positive environment," said Kiste.

'3 Mile Project' in Walker has a 34,000 square foot facility off Walkent Drive near I-96.

"We break down barriers, we soften hearts," said Kiste. "We earn the right to be heard and we have a lot of neat conversations with kids celebrating the great things that are happening in their lives but also having the opportunity to talk with them about the struggles that are happening."

The organization offers basketball, an indoor skate park, three separate movie theaters, and a re-ball facility, (basically indoor paintball with foam pellets). An environment Crison agrees is profitable in the lives of children.

"So when you're surrounded by people who care about you and surrounded by people who believe in you, it makes a world of difference," Crison added.

For more information on '3 Mile Project,' click the link here

For more information on the 'Paul I. Phillips Teen Center,' click the link here