PRESS RELEASE

City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

6/5/2024
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # 060524-1
Subject:
Long Beach Leaders Announce Plans for a Safe and Healthy Summer
A collective impact approach to uplift local youth and combat youth violence in Long Beach
Contact:
Office of Public Affairs and Communications
LongBeachMedia@longbeach.gov






Several Long Beach Officials and community partners stand outside of City Hall, a tall mirrored building, with Mayor standing at lectern.Above: Mayor Rex Richardson and other City of Long Beach and community leaders share
details of the Summer of Opportunity initiative during a press conference held outside City Hall on June 5.

This week, the City of Long Beach announced details for its Summer of Opportunity initiative, a collective impact approach focused on fostering positive development among Long Beach youth while simultaneously addressing youth violence. The initiative features three key areas of focus – S.T.R.O.N.G. Beach (Standing Together to Reach Our Next Generation), which will expand summer youth opportunities; violence prevention and suppression strategies; and community engagement and activation – to further support and uplift local youth.

"Today, I'm proud to share our City’s plan for a safe and healthy summer – S.T.R.O.N.G. Beach, focused on three core strategies: expanding summer youth opportunities, preventing and suppressing violence, and engaging neighborhoods citywide," said Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson. "By engaging our youth and neighborhoods, and applying a data-driven approach to gun violence suppression, we can ensure a fun, safe, and memorable summer for everyone."

Long Beach’s Summer of Opportunity was developed by an interdepartmental team consisting of the Office of the City Manager, the Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department), Long Beach Police Department, and the Offices of Civic Innovation and Equity. It encompasses a coordinated plan to provide engagement opportunities for youth during the summer months by leveraging existing resources that support youth engagement, connectedness, and collaborating with community organizations and stakeholders.

“Lasting change can only be achieved through collective impact and the involvement and support of the community,” said Deputy City Manager Teresa Chandler. “Summer of Opportunity synergizes existing efforts from many City departments and community stakeholders while, most importantly, uplifting the voices of local youth themselves. We are very proud of this initiative and our enhanced efforts to offer safe and engaging activities for local youth this summer and beyond.”

Details for the Summer of Opportunity initiative was presented during the June 4, 2024, City Council meeting. Highlights of the initiative are below with additional information available here.

S.T.R.O.N.G. Beach (Standing Together to Reach Our Next Generation)
S.T.R.O.N.G. Beach unites existing citywide programs and community partnerships by actively engaging opportunity youth – people from 13 to 26 years old who are neither enrolled in school nor working – during the summer months. The goals of S.T.R.O.N.G. Beach include:

  • decreasing violent incidents in city neighborhoods most impacted by violence;
  • building bridges to lasting, meaningful opportunities for local youth;
  • creating safe spaces and transformative opportunities for youth through interdepartmental collaboration and community partnerships;
  • offering hope, resilience and connectedness for youth, families and neighborhoods most impacted by violence.

These goals are aligned with the City’s violence prevention strategies to go beyond incident reduction by also focusing on uplifting and empowering young people.

Crime Suppression and Violence Prevention
To achieve optimal health outcomes and safe communities for all, addressing violence in Long Beach requires a comprehensive, multifaceted approach. The City created its  Long Beach Advancing Peace Initiative to collectively address the systemic issues that perpetuate harm, which directly link to violence in homes and on the streets. Led by the Health Department, this robust public health strategy works with residents and organizations to delve into the root causes of violence while also addressing generational trauma. Alongside a collaborative, community-focused approach, the model emphasizes upstream prevention, intervention/violence interruption, and accountability and healing strategies that work simultaneously to create sustainable, lasting change.

“We know that health outcomes are directly linked to societal issues including poverty, structural racism and childhood trauma,” said Health Department Director Alison King. “By offering quality programming, we can create change and make our city a healthier, happier place for everyone.”

The Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) remains committed to supporting crime prevention programs that enhance the safety and wellbeing of residents throughout the community. The department continues to offer many community policing models and neighborhood collaboration programs year-round, such as the Neighborhood Safety Bike Team, Coffee with a Cop and participation at neighborhood meetings. The LBPD continues to prioritize youth-focused programs like Police Explorers, Search and Rescue and Youth Leadership Academy, all of which foster youth leadership development and positive relationships with law enforcement. The Youth Leadership Academy will take place June 17-21.

“As we approach the summer months, I’m so grateful for all the hard work of our personnel to develop a proactive outreach and engagement strategy to help keep our community safe,” said Chief of Police Wally Hebeish. “This summer, we will host our Youth Leadership Academy and National Night Out, have engagement opportunities in our parks, have an increased visibility in public spaces, and take proactive enforcement action. Community safety takes all of us – we’re looking forward to partnering with residents, community organizations and other City departments to keep everyone safe this summer.”

Community Engagement and Activating Community
Uplifting youth and reducing crime requires a united approach, which includes hearing from youth themselves and incorporating their feedback into action. During the inaugural Youth Day in the LBC held on May 4, about 50 youth ages 13 to 26 participated in a Violence Prevention breakout discussion where they talked about the influence of community violence and the normalization of violence both at home and in social environments as root causes for violent behavior, and proposed solutions such as non-violence and de-escalation workshops, on-campus programs for violence prevention and conflict resolution, and community engagement at an early age.

Under the Summer of Opportunity initiative, the Long Beach Advancing Peace Initiative, which includes a steering committee and collaborative network of nonprofit leaders, neighborhood associations, resident leaders and City staff, will work to address these key themes. The City’s Youth Advisory Council, which informs much of the work undertaken by the Health Department's Office of Youth Development, will also play a crucial role in the Summer of Opportunity. By incorporating the perspectives of these young individuals, who have a keen understanding of their peers' preferences and needs, the City can implement more effective approaches to connect with local youth and further enhance the coordination and visibility of youth-focused resources.

Upcoming Summer of Opportunity Activations
Highlights of Summer of Opportunity efforts currently underway include the below with additional activations listed here:

  • Summer Activities Calendar: The recently launched calendar, which can be explored at www.longbeach.gov/summer, features over 1,300 activities and events for family and friends, teens and tweens, and kids, toddlers and babies, with special filters to identify events for many age categories, including Teens and Tweens, to easily showcase the many different activities, programs and events for youth to stay active and engaged all summer long.
  • Safe Passage Program: In effort to promote safety and increase community social connectedness, summer programming will take place in current Safe Passage sites in Central and North Long Beach. Event details will be shared in the coming weeks.
  • Be S.A.F.E. (Summer Activities in a Friendly Environment): Offers families and residents of all ages free recreation activities, including arts and crafts, games, sports, science activities, and special events, at 13 City parks weekdays June 17 through August 23, from 5 to 8 p.m. More information, available here.
  • 41st Annual National Night Out: The LBPD invites neighbors, community groups and businesses to host block parties, parades, cookouts and other community events as part of this year’s National Night Out. This annual event promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live and work. Details about this year’s NNO, taking place Tuesday, Aug. 6, will be shared at a later date. 
  • Futures First: This spring the City launched Futures First, led by the Office of Youth Development in partnership with The April Parker Foundation and Pacific Gateway Workforce Innovation Network, which supports the social-emotional wellness, self-discovery and leadership development of opportunity youth through personalized case management, life coaching, professional career counseling, and hands-on employment and training opportunities. More information available at futuresfirstlb.com.
  • Waiving of Block Party Permit & Barricade Rental Fees: In an effort to support neighborhood activation and community, the City is waiving the $100 application fee for permitted block parties as well as barricade rental fees, which can be anywhere from $200 to $500. Available on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted. For more information and to apply, residents may visit www.filmlongbeach.com.

The City will also continue to work alongside Council Districts and community partners to help spread the word about these efforts to achieve maximum reach to Long Beach youth and families.

About the City of Long Beach 
Long Beach is nestled along the Southern California coast and home to approximately 466,000 people. As an award-winning full-service charter city, Long Beach offers the amenities of a metropolitan city while maintaininga strong sense of individual and diverse neighborhoods, culture, and community. With a bustling downtown and over six miles of scenic beaches, Long Beach is a renowned tourist and business destinationT and home to the iconic Queen Mary, nationally recognized Aquarium of the Pacific and Long Beach Airport, award-winning Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center and world-class Port of Long Beach.

For more information about the City of Long Beach, visit longbeach.gov/. Follow us on social to keep up with the latest news: Facebook, X, Instagram and YouTube.