Mayor, Donor Issue Challenge to Help Teens

Mayor Alvin Brown
Mayor Alvin Brown

During an end-of-summer celebration for JaxParks Summer Night Lights (SNL) initiative on Wednesday evening, Mayor Alvin Brown recognized attorney Wayne Hogan of the Terrell Hogan Law Firm for his substantial financial commitment to the youth anti-crime, anti-violence initiative that operates in select parks each summer. Brown then joined Hogan in issuing a challenge to others.

“We work very hard to invest in the next generation through quality programs,” Mayor Brown said. “We also are stronger when we work together. So it is my hope that Wayne’s commitment will serve as an inspiration to others in the community.”

As an agency partner in the SNL initiative, Sheriff John Rutherford also commended Hogan’s efforts.

“As a long standing partner in public safety, I would like to thank Wayne Hogan for stepping up and personally ensuring that this important crime prevention program occurred this past summer,” Rutherford said.

“Because these SNL programs work, and because they have proven effective, I am sure more businesses and civic groups will support them, so we can help even more kids next year,” Hogan said.

As part of a larger $200,000 commitment made during Jacksonville’s 2012 Economic Summit, Hogan donated $35,000 to SNL 2013, allowing JaxParks to offer several new teen-based programs aimed at providing career experiences, team-building activities, dance and mentoring.

Programs included School Beats Academy, an eight-week program that introduces youth to careers in the music industry; Unified, an eight-week mentoring program; Mayne Event, an eight-week program that teaches step dance and rhythm; SNL’s sports activities geared to develop sports skills and emphasize teamwork; and Thursday Youth Education Nights, a diverse array of education classes based on the Learn2Earn model to help prepare youth for life after high school. Approximately 500 youth attended those programs.

This is the fourth year for SNL. The initiative, geared towards youth ages 13 through 21, operates at select parks for eight weeks on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. to midnight. All activities are free. This year’s SNL hosted six locations: Clanzel T. Brown, Grand Park, Robert F. Kennedy, Emmett Reed, Woodland Acres and McGirts Creek. Additional sites hosting pool-only activities included Charles Clark, Harts Road, Jefferson St. and Eugene Butler. JaxParks staff counted approximately 17,000 visits to SNL sites during the summer.

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