Summer Block Parties Offer Kids, Families Safe Place to Relax

Local News
Keeping kids away from crime is one of the reasons a Memphis man tapped into his network and passion to coordinate summer block parties.
 
The Safe Summer Block Party Series held its second party of the season Friday at Hickory Ridge Middle School.
 
Festivities featured a petting zoo, camel rides, carnival rides and food all for free. Families also had the chance to register kids for school or get connected to job outlets.
 
Artemis “Peppa” Williams began organizing and promoting the series 3 years ago.
 
“Once I kinda saw the crime rate and just being a father myself I realized kids tend to not know that the community does care. So my light went off in my head to tap into my resources,” said Williams.
 
He has worked with the Shelby County Commission, Memphis City Council, Shelby County Schools, Penny Hardaway and other community partners to pull it off.
 
Williams said between 500-1,000 people will come through on one night, adding it is about showing kids their community cares about them.
 
“You’re able to spend time and be a real father and have fun with your kids during the summer when there’s not a lot to do,” said Johnny Gooden who brought his 3 year old daughter.
 
“I love it I think it’s a good thing for the kids to come out and enjoy being outside,” said mom Nicole Olloway.
 
“You know someone can’t afford to go to a zoo or just go to a museum or amusement park. So what I wanted to do is still try to create this environment and plant for them that every child experience some sort of fun in the summer,” said Williams.
 
“We often times want our youth to do constructive fun things in the summer, Peppa has really offered something special,” said Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner.
 
Turner said he jumped on board with Williams a few years ago to get the block parties going.
 
Williams said these parties also aim to reach young people and keep them out of trouble.
 
“I think once they feel that love they’ll think twice about doing something,” said Williams.
 
You can check out the schedule for the Safe Summer Block Party Series below:
Event Timeline: (All Block Parties will be from 5PM-7PM)
 
June 22nd Block Party- Bellevue Middle School
June 29th Block Party- Trezevant Middle School
July 6th Block Party- Hamilton High School
July 13th Block Party- East High School
July 20th Block Party- Whitehaven Empowerment Zone- Southland Mall
July 27th Block Party- White station High School
July 28th Grand finale- Tiger Lane

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