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'They can't be what they can't see': Mayor Tishaura Jones visits kids at free St. Louis summer program

The Summer Fun STL program helps kids ages 5-17 stay off the streets. It's held at eight different locations across St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones makes a point to visit with inner-city kids, so they too can aspire to be the world's future leaders one day.

"They can't be what they can't see, and so we spend a lot of time in our schools working with our children and trying to be positive role models to let them know they can be anything they want to be," Jones said.

That's why she launched the Summer Fun STL program, working with nonprofits like Northside Youth and Senior Service Center for after-school and summer activities.

"Our parents they need to work and this is free, so they don't have to worry about trying to leave their kids at home, them sneaking outside, getting into trouble, so we're here with a structured schedule, structured activities making sure our kids are safe," said Dominic Avant with Northside.

From 8 a.m. - 6 p.m., kids get a full day of arts and crafts, science experiments and physical activities instead of being on the streets.

"This year over 50 kids have been victims of gun violence in our city and so we are working with our schools to provide safe and fun activities to keep them out of harm's way," Jones said.

Peabody Elementary is one of eight locations around the city that's participating in the Summer Fun STL program, which is open to young people ages 5-17.

"I would love to see that after this summer when we evaluate this program that you know 'x' number of children were not in harm's way as a result of being here during the day, and also we can look at academically in the fall to see how many children did not slide back over the summer," Jones said.

There are about 50 kids at each location. The city added two new sites in the last couple of years to meet the demand.

"This is a way to make sure that we're taking care of our most precious asset, our babies," Jones said.

The City opened its newest Summer Fun STL site at Jefferson Elementary School.

The Boys and Girls Club oversees that site.

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