Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Summer Night Lights Bright at Ramon Garcia Park

A sea of children. That’s what I saw when visiting Ramon Garcia Park and its Summer Night Lights program last week. If the answer to the program’s success can be found in the dozens upon dozens of kids playing on the soccer and baseball fields and indoor basketball court, or playing foosball in the activity room, then the program is a smashing success. This program is not an end-all program. It is what it says it is: a summertime effort to keep our children living in the most vulnerable neighborhoods safe from gang violence during critical nighttime hours. The program runs through Labor Day, Wednesdays through Saturdays, 4 p.m. to midnight. Part of the mayor’s citywide program, which I support wholeheartedly, it’s focused on the City’s anti-gang reduction zones. And in my district, Ramon Garcia and Ramona Gardens Recreation Center are part of the program. Mayor Villaraigosa and Jeff Carr, the mayor’s gang reduction and youth development director, as well as local legend, Sportscaster Jim Hill joined me. We passed out a couple of free iPods and other prizes and all the while we were surrounded by the most beautiful sight: a sea of children.