Safe Haven to offer friendly after-school environment

The Milton S. Elsenhower Foundation will bring more than 25 years of experience in youth development to Alabama when it announces plans Wednesday, July 27, for a new Youth Safe Haven to open at the Ridgewood housing community.

The Tuskegee Youth Safe Haven-Police Ministation project will be announced at 1 p.m. in the Ridgewood Community Center , 2908 Foster Street .

A six-bedroom, stand-alone unit has been made available by the Tuskegee Housing Authority. This unit will include classroom space, recreational space and office space all geared toward community service activ­ities for youth in the Ridgewood public housing community.

The Safe Haven will also provide commu­ nity services, snacks, books, recreation, and mentors to a minimum of 50 kids between ages 5 and 12. Renovations are currently underway to prepare the facility for an August grand opening.

The Eisenhower Foundation is working closely with Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama , the Tuskegee Housing Authority, the Tuskegee Police Department, Linda Simpson, Executive Director of the Tuskegee Housing Authority, and the Tuskegee Macon County Community Development Corporation to make the new Youth Safe Haven-Police Ministation a reality.

The Eisenhower Foundation is a leader in replicating programs that are scientifi­cally proven to reduce juvenile crime and improve scholastic achievement for young people.

The Eisenhower Youth Safe Havens have long been one of the Foundation's most effective programs, providing young people with a safe place to go for after-school study, obtain homework assistance, learn social skills, perform community service projects, become involved in recreational activities, or to just hang out with mentors and friends. The Youth Safe Havens also incorporates a police ministation to ensure a safe and friendly environment.

The replication of this youth center- police ministation community model is long championed by the Eisenhower Foundation at other sites around the coun­ try and now for the first time in Mississippi and Alabama .

The after-school program has two goals: improving academic grades and giving stu­ dents an alternative to risky after-school behavior. The Safe Haven-Police MiniStation gives police officers an oppor­ tunity to perform valuable community service in their roles as mentors, while stu­ dents enjoy a safe place to do homework or just to hang out during critical, often unsupervised, after-school hours.

Under the Youth Safe Haven-Police Ministation model, police officers and local students will share the same working space within a housing community. The friendly environment allows unique part­nerships to develop between the officers and the students with an overall impact on homework getting done and grades improving. Equally important, the kids stay off the streets and out of trouble.

Studies have proven that neighborhoods housing Youth Safe Haven-Police Ministations experience drops in crime by,.

as much as 38 percent-with youth crime in those same areas declining at even greater rates. Furthermore, students who take part in Youth Safe Havens are far less likely to engage in risky behavior, commit crimes, or use drugs later in life.

For registration information for the Tuskegee Youth Safe Haven-Police Ministation project, please contact Guy Trammell at 334/724-0749.