VPD to kick off summer Street Ball program

Published 10:21 am Saturday, May 18, 2024

The Vicksburg Police Department is gearing up for its annual youth program, Street Ball, starting June 4 and running through July 12. 

“This initiative not only offers recreation, but crucial mentorship and community support for our city’s youth,” Vicksburg Chief of Police Penny Jones said of the annual summer program. “It’s more than just fun — it’s about providing positive role models and structured activities during the crucial summer months.”

Jones said Street Ball is designed to keep kids engaged and off the streets, reducing community issues like juvenile crime. Past attendees credit the program with positively influencing their lives, and data shows a decrease in violations during program hours, she said.

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The activities range from sports like basketball and flag football, pickle ball, and corn hole to creative pursuits like canvas painting, arts and crafts, and barber and beauty tips, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Field trips are also planned to broaden horizons, as well as mentors both inside the community and beyond.

But, Jones said the need for support doesn’t end with the summer program.

“Our youth need consistent care and outlets year-round. The recent rise in youth violence is alarming, with reports of shootings and dangerous behavior. It’s crucial for parents to be involved and aware of their children’s activities, guiding them away from destructive paths.”

Jones said, as times change, it’s important that both community leaders and parents adjust to meet the needs of kids in today’s social climate.

“In the past, disagreements were settled with fists, not guns,” she said. “Today, the consequences are much graver, with innocent lives at risk due to reckless behavior. Some of our youth are purchasing a one-way ticket to their permanent home in prison. We need to emphasize the importance of teaching life’s values and intervening early to prevent tragedies.”

Jones said the Street Ball program is a small example of the large-scale change she hopes her department can bring about in Vicksburg.

“Let’s come together as a community to support our youth. Enroll your child in Street Ball and contribute ideas for a positive impact.” 

Anyone interested in enrolling a child in the program may contact Danielle Williams at 601-801-5311 for more information. 

“Together, we can create a safe and enriching environment for our future leaders,” Jones said.