Lexington's new summer program aims to keep youths involved

Lexington youngsters will find more to do this summer, thanks to a group of community organizations that have planned activities to help keep young people occupied and out of trouble.

The new program is called I DO — Identifying Opportunities, Developing Relationships and Organizing partnerships — was unveiled at a news conference Wednesday morning.

"It's a coordinating effort. There are a lot of things already going on in the community," said Chris Ford, an Urban County Council member who served on the steering committee. "But this group has planned even more."

A challenge has been disseminating information, Ford said.

I DO is an outgrowth of the work of the Commission on Youth Development and Public Safety, a joint project formed last summer under the leadership of Ford and Mayor Jim Gray's office. The commission was asked to focus on youth and safety concerns.

At the news conference in the mayor's office, more than a dozen people were there representing faith-based organizations, youth advocate groups, the Lexington Police Activities League, parks and recreation, concerned citizens, Fayette County Public Schools and city officials.

Some of the programs are free, others offer scholarships. Some are new, others are longtime favorites. Many are designed to serve young people who live in the urban area, said Laura Hatfield, executive director of Partners for Youth, a city program that works to improve the lives of economically disadvantaged children and serves as a clearing house for agencies serving local youth.

Partners for Youth will coordinate the I DO program.

Hatfield said individuals or organizations that want to get involved this summer by providing snacks or helping with activities may call her at (859) 258-3119.

Gray said this summer essentially would serve as a pilot program for the new effort, which will be continued, he said. "We're not going to do this as a one-time event."

The complete list of activities is available on the city's Web site, Lexingtonky.gov.

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