KINGSTON — Following the problem of gun violence in Kingston and across the nation, the city is taking the initiative to create a unique program to offer youths a safe place to engage, congregate and participate in a series of programs, keeping them off the streets and eliminate gun violence.
That program is the Lights on Kingston program, where youths will have the city’s high school open on Friday nights with a myriad of activities for them to blow off steam and have fun in stimulating and productive ways, which was the brainchild of Ulster County Human Rights Commissioner Tyrone Wilson.
Wednesday evening, the city’s Finance and Audit Committee unanimously passed an allocation of $30,000 from the city’s contingency fund for the program, a proposal submitted by Mayor Steve Noble.
Wilson said a major part of this program, as it develops, is using youth input to discover what type of programs and environment they want. They want this to be a place where the youths that utilize help create the space for themselves.
“A whole part of this is for them to come into this building and they’ll create this environment,” said Wilson. “I mean, we’re kicking it off right now, but when they come in there, they’re going to create the environment. They’re going to tell us things that we didn’t think of and we want to implement that because this is supposed to be a no-judgment zone place and everybody is supposed to come in here and have fun and burn energy,” he said.
Wilson and Alderwoman Rita Worthington said initially, this program will be focused on city youths, but intend to expand it to youths elsewhere in the county once everything gets up and running.
The first step will be having a questionnaire/application sent out to parents to get their input and will be using local public advertising to make the community aware of the program which is expected to launch in June.