Having Fun – Preventing Crime
Keeping kids busy with fun, productive activities this summer is a great way to keep them safe and happy. Here are some great local activities to choose from.
As I’ve mentioned before, the Ukiah Police Department (UPD) is teaming up with the Ukiah Unified School District (UUSD) to sponsor a wonderful program called, “Ukiah Reads.” This program encourages kids to read during the summer to make sure they are fully prepared to return to their classrooms in the fall.
You can find the Ukiah Reads book list online at www.uusd.net/pages/Ukiah_Unified/ukiahreads or www.ukiahpolice.com/community-support/ukiah-reads-summer-time-reading-list. Kids can pick up books on the list right here in Ukiah at the Mendocino County Library, the Mendocino Book Company at 102 S. School Street, or the Village Bookstore at 344 N. State Street.
When they aren’t reading, kids can participate in other great local activities, like the recreation programs offered through the Alex Rorabaugh Recreation Center (ARRC).
The ARRC provides a number of free recreation programs; it also hosts some of the City of Ukiah recreation programs, the Boys & Girls Club, and the ARC Family Resource Center, which provides services to strengthen families and youth resiliency.
Every second Friday of the month the gym is open to play futsal (indoor soccer) from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Every fourth Friday the gym is open to play basketball from 6:00 to 9:00 pm, and two Sunday afternoons a month the entire facility is open to the public for recreation activities, games and meetings.
Free Sundays (Open ARRC) happen June 21, July 5 and 19, and August 2 and 16, from noon until 5:00 pm at the ARRC. All are welcome at these events. Youth 17 and under must be checked in and out by a responsible adult.
Dr. Marvin Trotter, one of the founders of the ARRC and an emergency room physician said, “Kids need two things, regardless of their situation or location: mentors and a positive place to go. The ARRC and the Boys and Girls Club provide those two things, giving the kids something to do; an alternative to trouble.”
And the young adults who come for Open ARRC agree: Anthony Ziegler, a Mendocino College basketball player, said recreation activities like these prevent crime because, “This gives kids something to do. It keeps people off the streets.”
Research backs up these opinions. A recent National Park and Recreation Association found that community recreation programs can reduce juvenile delinquency and exposure to violence. And a study in Austin, Texas found a 44 percent reduction in juvenile crime following the opening of a recreation center.
We are always looking for ways to reduce crime, and keeping our kids busy is one sure way to help keep them safe. If you’d like to learn more about the ARRC, or keep up to date with the ARRC activity schedule, you can find the Alex Rorabaugh Recreation Center on Facebook.
If your kids are staying home alone this summer, please consider sending them to the Boys and Girls Club, which is located at the ARRC.
The Ukiah Boys and Girls Club is a wonderful place for kids to learn and grow, all while having fun and developing great friendships. A club membership costs only $50 for the whole year, including summertime supervision, allowing kids to spend their days filled wonderful activities. If you would like more information about the Boys and Girls Club, visit www.ukiahbgc.org .
Other free and low-cost activities are listed at www.mendolakefamilylife.com. And remember, we have great parks with fun playgrounds. When you’re not at work, consider spending time outside as a family. Throw a Frisbee. Play catch. Pack a picnic. Go for a hike. Go swimming in Lake Mendocino or at the municipal pool. Time with your kids is hard to beat.
I wish everyone a safe and fun summer.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.