Yesterday's PJStar reported that Holy Family Heritage Days was held without incident following the execution of a collaborative community effort to reduce teen violence. Last year unexpected random teen violence caused the same event to end sooner than planned. It's a great article and is some welcome good news for the city of Peoria.
PEORIA — If you plan to attend summer festivals this year, expect to be greeted with a list of rules: No baggy pants, no plain T-shirts, and no cursing.
Because of fights breaking out among crowds of teenagers during 2008 summer festivals, more than two dozen certified volunteers through Carl Cannon's ELITE Youth program are being called to action.
Their first stop was Holy Family Church's Heritage Days during the last weekend in May.
"We went incident free, knock on wood," Cannon said. "We raised the bar and put it on the youth to live up to the standards that we expect."
No arrests were made at the event, according to Capt. Lisa Snow of the Peoria Police Department.
Before entrance to the event, youths had to agree with a code of conduct and dress code, which were posted on signs at the entrance.
We are all quick to criticise our city leaders for their perceived shortcomings, but we tend to fall short when it comes to offering the appropriate accolades for a job well done. According to the article, the services and counsel of Carl Cannon will continue to be retained throughout the summer at Riverfront and city sponsored events. Thank you to the Peoria Police Department, Mayor Ardis and the City of Peoria, and particularly Carl Cannon and his Elite Youth Program and volunteers for their collaborative efforts, their innovative problem solving, and a willingness to continue to serve our community.
I found this point in the PJStar article to be the most revealing:
While some thought event attendance may be lowered because of these stricter guidelines, the last two days of Heritage Days saw an increase in attendance, according to Sollberger.
If people feel safe, attendance and participation will be enhanced - basic common sense we can apply to all city and school district business. The efforts undertaken to stop teen violence sends a strong message that we will not surrender our community or our schools to thugs!