Thursday, September 27, 2012
The recently released comprehensive gang report that details the presence and impact of gangs in Hamilton County states that local community centers are strategically situated to be change agents in the communities they serve.
After a record-breaking summer with strong participation in a variety of programs, Chattanooga Parks and Recreation officials are gearing up for fall and winter programs they hope will attract local residents of all demographics.
“One thing we’re trying to do is diversify the programs we’re offering at the centers,” said Chattanooga Parks and Recreation assistant director of recreation Eric Jelinski. “We’re listening to the community to see what they want and creating strategic partnerships in the community for those programs to reach people who’ve never stepped into the center.”
Whether those people are senior citizens looking for a book club, children seeking homework help or teens trying to find an alternative to gang involvement, Jelinski said the centers are working to provide those kinds of opportunities and more throughout the fall and winter.
Anyone interested in seeing a certain program or type of program at a specific center should contact the center directly to help promote a diverse variety of programs at the centers.
“People think that once school starts we trim down what we offer,” said Chattanooga Parks and Recreation Director of Public Relations Brian Smith. “That’s not true. In a lot of centers we have more programs going on during those times.”
According to Smith, as more information about the recent gang study becomes available, local community centers will continue to partner with the city’s Gang Task Force and work to provide high-quality opportunities for everyone in the community.
To help achieve that goal, the department is also in the process of a master planning process that includes a public survey where people can voice their opinions about what they’d like to see more or less of in the coming months.
For more information about local community centers and programs visit www.chattanooga.gov or like Chattanooga Parks and Recreation on Facebook.