SOUTH SACRAMENTO -- City leaders are searching for solutions after chaotic fights involving hundreds of teens at Arden Fair Mall broke out twice over the holidays.
The Mayor says these kids just don’t have a safe, alternative way to spend their time.
So, this weekend, he’s giving them one.
The city is partnering with Sierra Health and community centers across Sacramento to host free “pop-up” events for young people.
The idea is to offer safe, fun alternatives for kids.
At the Asian Resources Center, they had a whole night planned, with free food and video games.
These events are just going on this weekend, but some organizations are working to put on events like these year-round.
Going door-to-door and collecting signatures, the Sacramento Kids First Coalition is working to get a measure on the March 2020 ballot for more funding for youth programs.
“Providing a positive experience for young people. An alternative to going down to the mall to be honest with you.” Said Derrell Roberts with The Roberts Family Development Center.
Money for events and services that Roberts says would keep kids out of trouble.
He thinks more teen programming would help prevent violence like the massive fights we saw over winter break among teens at Arden Fair Mall.
“During the Christmas break, for two weeks, we have nothing for our kids in these neighborhoods to do,” Roberts said.
If passed, the ballot measure would require the city to set aside roughly $12M annually for events and services for our young people.
The money would come out of the city’s unrestricted general fund.
“Mentoring, arts programs, dance programs, after school programs, summer programs. Programs during the intercession, time when school is out, so we can have things for kids to do on the regular,” Roberts said.
In the meantime, though, they’re doing what they can to keep kids out of trouble.
“It’s really a way for us to say, ‘come on come talk to us. We’re adults. We’ve got you. We understand,’” said mentor Jayshawn Yancey.
The free events are happening all weekend.