Monday, July 15, 2019

Baker-Polito Administration Celebrates the Start of the 2019 Summer Nights Initiative

Baker-Polito Administration Celebrates the Start of the 2019 Summer Nights Initiative

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BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito today joined Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Leo Roy, state and local officials, and key partners to celebrate the start of the 2019 Summer Nights Initiative at the DCR’s Dillaway-Thomas House in Roxbury. Since 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has invested in additional recreational opportunities, such as increased programming and the extension of operating hours at several DCR water facilities, in select urban communities across the state for youth to enjoy during the summer vacation months.

“Our administration launched this program in 2015 to provide young people across the Commonwealth with the chance to participate in recreational and educational activities, and we’re proud to kick-off another summer,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The goal of Summer Nights is to provide safe, inclusive and fun events for kids in dozens of communities to enjoy our parks and pools and we are grateful for the organizations who participate in this program.”

This year, the administration has partnered with 14 organizations within several cities, including the City of Boston’s Dorchester, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Roxbury, and South End neighborhoods. Furthermore, eight state pools and two spray decks will have extended hours on Thursdays, including seven facilities in the Greater Boston area.

“Thanks to the Summer Nights Initiative and many involved stakeholders, youth from around the state are able to participate in excellent programming that is tailored to meet their interests and needs throughout July and August,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.“The Summer Nights Initiative serves as a great example of state government working in partnership with key stakeholders to meet a shared goal that directly benefits the public.”

The Baker-Polito Administration is working in conjunction with 14 community partners to provide an exciting schedule of recreational, educational, cultural, and arts programs for kids, teens, and young adults to learn new skills and socialize with one another. Programs such as basketball, flag-football, floor hockey, kickball, dodgeball, volleyball, and ping pong, as well as, dancing, fitness, talent shows, and arts and crafts will be featured. The DCR’s program partners are Score4More (Jamaica Plain & Dorchester); PIM (Hyde Park & Dorchester); Youth Connect (Worcester); NAACP (Roxbury); MLK Family Services (Springfield); En Motion (Springfield); Originations (Roxbury); Boys and Girls Club of  Lawrence (Lawrence/Methuen); Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell (Greater Lowell); Dennison Community Center (New Bedford); Boys and Girls Club of Metro South (Brockton); Elevate Boston Foundation (Roxbury); Lena Park Community Center (Dorchester); and, Black Ministerial Alliance (Mattapan, Dorchester, Roxbury and South End).

“The Summer Nights Initiative provides a great opportunity for children to get outside and experience enriching programs and healthy activities all summer long,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Importantly, by keeping parks and swimming facilities open a little longer and offering special programming with partners, children will remain engaged during the school vacation season.”

The Dillaway-Thomas House, which is located at Roxbury Heritage State Park in Boston, recently underwent a major $3.7 million renovation project in an effort to preserve the historic landmark for future generations to use. Renovations that were made to the building include structural improvements, restoration of historic components, upgrades to the electrical systems, and park improvements. As a result of the enhanced space, the NAACP’s Boston Branch will be hosting an entrepreneurship course at the facility for 24 youths between the ages of 16-19 to teach them how to create, market, and sell their own products during the Summer Nights Initiative program.

“Economic opportunity is one of our country’s longstanding promises. Yet, economic inequality is a reality for so many of our families,” said Tanisha M. Sullivan, President of the NAACP Boston Branch. “To help address this challenge we are thrilled to launch our summer initiative for young people who are interested in learning how they can chart their own path to economic freedom. In collaboration with the Baker-Polito Administration, Street2Ivy, and several private and philanthropic organizations, this program is creating a new blueprint for summertime in the city.”

Additionally, the popular Free Family Flicks movie series will once again be offered by the DCR this summer. Movies will be shown at six locations throughout the state, with four locations in or near Boston (Martini Memorial Shell in Hyde Park, Sylvester Baxter State Park in Somerville, the Charles River Esplanade’s Hatch Memorial Shell in the Back Bay, and Pope John Paul II Park in Dorchester). Featured movies include: Ralph Breaks the Internet; Mary Poppins Returns; Spiderman into the Spider Verse; Bumblebee; The Lego Movie 2; How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; Captain Marvel; and, Dumbo. The Free Family Flicks program provides family fun and entertainment at no charge (parking fees may apply depending on location).

For a full list of programming, please visit the DCR’s Summer Nights Initiative webpage

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