THE VILLE – In a city that has counted 193 homicides, including more than 20 youths in the metropolitan area, the firing of gunshots – illegal in the city – is probably the last thing residents want to hear or bear, albeit while celebrating New Year’s Eve.
To help keep youths safe, the Michael Brown Foundation, doing business as Chosen for Change (CFC), has teamed up with the Tandy Community Center, 4206 Kennerly Ave.
The two will host the New Year’s Eve Family Fun Night and Teen Lock-in.
Festivities kick-off at 5 p.m. with a community and family dinner for all ages. Family fun will continue with various activities until 12:30 a.m., following a midnight NYE countdown and ball drop. Activities include family vision boards, swimming, music, STEM, a children’s corner and vendors. There will be a nominal $5 fee to partake in this round of activities.
The lock-in is for as many as 150 youths ages 13-18. It runs from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. the following morning, which will include breakfast. Cost is $20. Participants can win prizes and giveaways including scholarships.
“After losing so many children this year alone, our main focus should be to ensure that they bring the new year in healthy and safe,” said Michael Brown Sr., father of Michael Brown Jr., who lost his life in 2014.
Brown and his wife, Cal, co-founders of the CFC foundation, expressed concern for other parents. The couple wants to keep parents from experiencing the pain of losing a child, which is why they created the safe space. The foundation’s programming is aimed at empowering, engaging and building leadership and self-determination in grieving fathers, youths and families.
“We have to start a new tradition that will eventually turn into a new culture, one of safety, and love for family and community,” said Khaleel Munir, executive director of the Tandy center in The Ville.
Under the leadership of Munir, the center has grown 85 percent in attendance in the last year. Dedicated to restoring the rich culture of The Ville, he has also established partnerships with The Black Rep, BJC, the Magic House and COCA.
The Tandy Community Center is named in honor of Capt. Charlton Hunt Tandy (1836-1919), a black Civil War veteran turned committeeman known for fighting for rights, opportunities and education.
For more information, contact ChosenForChangeFund@gmail.com or call the Tandy center at 314-652-5131.