CHICAGO (CBS) — Several rallies were being held across the city on Wednesday, as part of the city’s effort to keep children safe from violence during summer break.
The Summer Safe Haven program for students of the Chicago Public Schools started this week. The program includes 110 sites across the city
CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports the Safe Haven Summits come the same day as a 13-year-old boy was charged with shooting three other teens earlier this week in Washington Heights.
At a Safe Haven rally in the Hermosa neighborhood on Wednesday, CPS students and community leaders rallied for peace. They walked up and down Kildare Avenue, holding signs, and hoping to get their message across.
The free program includes summer camps that keep kids engaged in various activities to keep them off the streets while they’re off school for the summer. They’re also offered free breakfast and lunch each day of the program.
At the Safe Haven site in Hermosa, kids start their day every day with a dance party. Seventy-five CPS students attend the program at Grace and Peace Community Church.
Students made posters for Wednesday’s peace rally.
CPS student Jamya Jones said violent crime hits close to home for her, so she feels like she has to do what she can to help other kids, and protect them.
“This killing, it just has to stop,” she said. “It’s just so emotional because I lost one of my friends to a gun, honestly. help them as much as possible,”
Safe Haven leader Sara Zayas said, “The message is to end it. End the violence. End the bullying, and the guns. End whatever kind of damage that is going to be put to a child.”
Pastor John Zayas said, “we’re going to stand up, and stand up for righteousness. We’re going to stand up for justice. We’re going to make it known that our voice is going to be heard.”
The Safe Haven program runs through Aug. 8. The first day of class for the 2014-15 school year is Sept. 2.