Youth violence prevention summit begins Sunday in Columbia

In recognition of National Youth Violence Prevention Week, Columbia’s Police and Parks and Recreation departments are teaming up for a series of youth violence prevention activities that will begin Sunday.

Columbia police officers want to work with teens to build a better community. (Photo provided)

Columbia police officers want to work with teens to build a better community. (Photo provided)

National Youth Violence Prevention Week is designed to teach students, parents, school officials and the general public effective ways to reduce the incidence of  youth violence.

Activities will show teenagers the positive roles they can play in making their schools and communities safer.

All events are free and open to the public, and all interested community members are encouraged to attend.

Columbia officials are looking for submissions for Monday’s Youth Violence Prevention Expo. The Expo is open to agencies and organizations that support programs, resources, activities and events that encouraging young children and teens to make healthy life decisions.

National Youth Prevention Week schedule of events:

Sunday, April 3
4 to 6 p.m.

Praise Fest for Peace – Local artists/performers
Dutch Square, 421 Bush River Road
Local choirs, praise dance/mime ministries and more will perform.

Monday, April 4
6 to 8 p.m.

Youth Violence Prevention Expo – Various agencies and organizations
Dutch Square, 421 Bush River Road
Agencies and organizations will be on hand to provide information about a variety of programs, resources, activities and events that will assist youth in making better life choices.

Tuesday, April 5
6 to 8 p.m.
Know Your Rights – Columbia Police Department
Eau Claire Print Building, 3907 Ensor Avenue
Columbia Police Department officers will provide useful tips on interacting with the police and understanding citizens’ rights.

Wednesday, April 6
6 to 8 p.m.

Operation R.I.S.K. (Rescuing Inner-City Students and Kids) – Columbia Police Department
City Hall, 1737 Main Street
Operation R.I.S.K. is a proactive, educational, reality-based youth program designed to help deter youths ages 11-16 from criminal behavior or association. The goal of Operation R.I.S.K. is to educate youth about the importance of making the right decisions and the potential consequences of making poor decisions. This program also provides parents an effective option in helping their children become responsible and productive members of society.

Thursday, April 7
6 to 8 p.m.

The Aftermath of Youth Violence – Panel of xxperts
Earlewood Park Community Center, 1113 Parkside Drive
A panel discussion in which youth and adults can talk about the effects youth violence has had on their lives and families.

Friday, April 8
6 to 9 p.m.

Hoops for Peace – Columbia Police Department
Hyatt Park, 950 Jackson Avenue
The Columbia Police Department will team up with area youth for an evening of basketball fun. Participants will be invited to compete in a free throw shooting contest, a three-point shooting contest, a half-court shooting contest, a skills challenge and a basketball game.

For more information or to get involved as a vendor, call the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department at 803-545-3100 or visit www.columbiasc.net.

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