Mayor Welch Affirms His Commitment to Youth and Neighborhood Safety

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St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch Affirms His Commitment to Youth and Neighborhood Safety

May 19, 2023 – In response to concerns about neighborhood safety, St. Petersburg Mayor Kenneth T. Welch affirms his commitment to the City’s youth, their families, and the community with a multi-pronged initiative.
The first phase of Mayor Welch’s renewed commitment is fourfold, centering around awareness, opportunity, listening, and leadership: 1) launching Not My Child, the anti-violence / pro-community awareness campaign, with a neighborhood community walk on May 26th; 2) spreading the word about summer camp offerings and activities offered by the City of St. Petersburg; 3) hosting community conversations with specific audiences to help inform future educational and youth opportunities; and 4) the hiring of a new Director of Education and Youth Opportunities.
“Feeling safe in one’s neighborhood is vital to those who call St. Petersburg home. At the same time, it’s essential for the City to provide opportunities comprised of meaningful programming and activities that contribute to the success and future of our youth – this is what I call our Opportunity Agenda for Youth,” said Mayor Welch. “It is up to us to create a safe environment where our residents can feel secure, while ensuring that our youth and families can make their voices heard and access the resources they need to thrive.”
Education and Youth Opportunities and Neighborhood Health and Safety are two of Mayor Welch’s five Pillars For Progress, which also includes: Equitable Development, Arts and Business Opportunities; Housing Opportunities for All; and Environment, Infrastructure and Resilience.
First ‘Not My Child’ Canvassing on May 26
Formerly known as Not My Son, a campaign conceived to support young African American men, Not My Child has been expanded to reach all youth across St. Petersburg. Most importantly, the Not My Child campaign is meant to encourage positive enrichment for youth, share strong anti-violence / pro-community messages, and promote safe neighborhoods. A true community effort, the Not My Child campaign is focused on engaging parents, families, and their neighbors in the lives of St. Pete’s youth, to encourage them to make positive choices.
The first neighborhood canvassing will be held at Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church (4000 5th Ave S) at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 26. Subsequent canvassing walks will be held every Friday during the summer. Once the school year begins, canvassing will continue on the second Friday of each month. All are welcome to help spread the word door-to-door that education, opportunities, and positive relationships are the formula for hope and success in our community.
See What the City Has to Offer this Summer!
Summer is an important time for kids. Without school as an activity, it's crucial their time is used positively and wisely. The City strives to empower youth with enriching activities to explore their interests while having fun.
The following summer opportunities will help our kids learn about themselves and connect with their community:
Become A Lifeguard -
Explore Tech Camps -
Get Outside -
Grow A Garden -
Join A Camp -
Learn To Golf -
Learn to Swim -
Play A Sport -
Read a Book - 
Important Dates for Youth
Thursday, May 25 - Last Day of School
Friday, May 26, 6 p.m. - Not My Child Community Canvass
Saturday, May 27 - City Pools Open
Saturday, May 27 - Summer Reading Kick Off
Tuesday, May 30 Summer Food Programs begins
Tuesday, May 30 Therapeutic Recreation Summer Camp begins
Friday, June 2 - Flick & Float, Minions at Northwest Pool
Friday, June 9 - Flick & Float, Lightyear at Jennie Hall Pool
Thursday, June 15 - TASCO Games Showdown
Friday, June 16 - Flick & Float, Hotel Transylvania at Shore Acres Pool
Thursday, June 22 - SWAT Sand Blast at North Shore Beach
Friday, June 23 - Flick & Float, Puss In Boots at North Shore Aquatic
Thursday, June 30 - Flick & Float, Strange World at Lake Vista Pool
Friday, July 7 - Flick & Float, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 at Fossil Park
Thursday, July 13 - Battle of the Bay
Friday, July 14 - Flick & Float, Rumble at Childs Park Pool
Friday, July 21 - Flick & Float, DC League of Super Pets at E.H McLin Pool
Friday, July 28 - Flick & Float, Lyle, Lyle Crocodile at Walter Fuller Pool
It Takes A Village – Community Conversations with Mayor Welch
Helping our young people succeed requires input and involvement from them and everyone who touches their lives—parents, family members, neighbors, teachers, the faith community, business owners, non-profits, community leaders, and elected officials. Soliciting ideas and opinions from constituent groups is critical to determining next steps for addressing the Education and Youth Opportunities Pillar for Progress.
In June, City staff will begin scheduling multiple sessions for Mayor Welch to conduct with youth and parents/caregivers. Some gatherings will be invitation-only, some will be open to the public; all sessions will range in size and format.
Looking for a New Director to Lead the Way
A search for a new Director of Education and Youth Opportunities is underway. The person hired for this role will report directly to Leisure Services Administrator Michael Jefferis and will be responsible for the coordination and direction of activities and programs affecting educational and youth opportunity relationships between the City, the community, and other federal, state, and local agencies.
“Identifying the right person who can lead the City’s educational and youth opportunity endeavors is a high priority for Mayor Welch,” said Administrator Jefferis. “I’m excited at the prospect of working with a strong leader who will further enhance our partnerships with mission-aligned entities and other youth-focused organizations.”