White House working with Memphis to provide more summer programs - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

White House working with Memphis to provide more summer programs for kids

(Source: WMC Chopper 5) (Source: WMC Chopper 5)

The White House is getting involved in helping clean up juvenile crime in Memphis.

Latisha Anderson is a mother of three, and with summer break starting soon, she’s scrambling to find things for them to do.

“Nothing. We was actually in the library trying to fill out applications for him for summer jobs," Anderson said.

She said it is the only way to keep kids out of trouble.

The White House agrees: Memphis was one of 16 communities picked to be a Summer Impact Hub.

An ambassador for the White House will work with Ike Griffith of the Office of Youth Services to find more and better resources for summer youth programs like the Memphis Ambassadors Program and the MPLOY summer jobs program.

"We're going to look at our MPLOY program,” Griffith said. “As you know, right now we only can service 1,000 children. Other cities are doing 10,000, 15,000. I want to be in that number."

Griffith said right now they have to turn down thousands of kids each summer. The promise of more kids getting into summer jobs programs in the future got Anderson excited about the possibilities—for her kids, and for Memphis in general.

"Yes, it'll help lower crime,” she said. “Lord knows these kids need something to do."

It also keeps them safer. According to Memphis police, 14 kids age under age 17 have been killed in homicides this year. 

"That's while school is in session,” Griffith said. “I don't want that number to double, triple, quadruple as summer is approaching."

That’s why Griffith said he is going to lean on the White House ambassador to help find as many resources as possible to grow these programs to start others, so next summer, kids will be improving their lives, not losing them to crime.

"I don't want a ZIP code to determine a child's destiny,” Griffith said. “I want every child to have the same opportunity."

Anderson was all smiles imagining a future like that for her children. She said it is the first step for a big change in Memphis.

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