Is that across the street while we were holding a Movie Night in the Park with 49 kids and parents in the playground, a group of about 15-20 adults were gathering to fight. The sound of the movie drowned out the yelling and cursing. No one knew the wiser because they were either focused on the movie or running around the playground. The movie ended and the kids went on their way, most of them right across the street to the very side the problems were still brewing. Home to go to sleep, with sounds of loud music, arguing, loud exhaust systems and sometimes even the occasional sounds of gunshots. This is all too common for the kids we encounter in the playgrounds on any given day. So common, that it doesn’t even faze them. It’s their normal. This is the story you won’t often hear. The pictures you see, only tell part of the story.
The time we spend with our youth in the playgrounds is vitally important to our community as a whole. Providing that safe space for our kids to play, interact positively with their peers, learn conflict resolution skills when those interactions turn negative, and being consistent, positive adults and young adults for them to look up to is immeasurable. Something that had these older “adults” known, we may not have had any situation to write about. Our community is in need of being rebuilt from the ground up. For us, that starts on the playground.