Mayor Richard M. Daley today reminded residents that a wide variety of programs and activities for young people are offered by the City, its sister agencies and other partners during the Chicago Public Schools spring break, which goes from Friday, March 26 until Monday, April 5.
“This is a welcome break for parents and students, alike. But this extended period away from school gives our young people time on their hands, which can be dangerous,” Mayor Daley said in a news conference at Nash Elementary School, 4837 W. Erie.
“The free time makes them vulnerable to the threats of gangs, guns and drugs and it means we have to re-double our efforts to keep our children out of harm's way,” he said.
The Mayor reminded parents and students that they share responsibility in this effort with the police department and community and faith-based groups, who help the City offer a wide variety of positive activities to engage young people during their holiday breaks and their summer vacation.
He said one of the most important programs is the “Safe Haven, Safe Holiday” program that is a partnership between the City’s Department of Family and Support Services, the Chicago Public Schools and the faith-based community.
This 5-day program started during the last winter break and it was such a success that it has been from 24 community churches to 40 to allow up to 1,000 students to take part in a variety of activities to keep them safe. Lunch, security and transportation are provided.
Some of the other spring break programs being offered are:
Daley also reminded residents there is free family entertainment every day of the break at Navy Pier and that the City has more than 50 museums, many of which are always free or offer designated free days and the Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the only free zoos in the country.
He said the Chicago Police Department will, of course, continue to enforce the city's curfew across Chicago and he asked parents to make sure their children are home before the curfew begins.
The Police Department will also launch Operation Spring Break in collaboration with the Illinois State Police and Cook County Adult Probation’s Gang Intervention. As part of this effort, they will provide additional resources to at-risk communities.
“These are just some of the steps we are taking to ensure the safety of every young person in our city,” Mayor Daley said. “I urge everyone to make a commitment today to make next week a safe and productive spring break for our children.”