Late-Night Recreation Aimed at Keeping Teens Occupied and Reducing Curfew Citations

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Candace Sweat

Kids are out of school and it’s time to keep them occupied.

Dallas Parks and Recreation realizes the search can be particularly challenging for parents of teens.

On Friday the department kicked off its free late-night recreation program with hopes of having a positive impact and reducing teen curfew citations.

It's called TREC – short for teen recreation. It's a program tailored to the specific interests of teens ages 13 to 17.

That age group was a deliberate decision.

District manager, Keshia Randle, said it's a critical age when it comes to influencing positive decision making.

"So much happens out here, and they can be easily influenced. And we wanted to make sure that the influence was positive," Randle said.

The goal is to create a fun, safe environment that's also educational.

Organizers held the kickoff event at Cummings Recreation Center.

The program will officially start June 14 and end on Aug. 25. It will take place every Friday and Saturday from 7-11 p.m.

The five participating recreation centers are Beckley-Saner, Campbell Green, Lake Highlands North, Nash-Davis and Pleasant Oaks.

Participants will have an opportunity to try physical activity, visual and performing arts as well as STEM -- all integrated into the program.

Ruben Limon, 17, said he doesn't know what he'd be doing otherwise.

"Nothing actually. Just probably sitting in my room. Nothing really," he said.

The activities are thanks, in part, to an extra $500,000 allocation from the city to expand teen programs.

Earnet Morgan attended Cummings Recreation as child. She said she realized the importance of programs aimed at teenagers.

"I've been in the neighborhood since the third grade. And when this center first opened I was here," Morgan said.

Now in her 60s, she visits the center with her grandchildren.

She said she hoped, with programs like this one, they'd have a similar story to tell someday.

"Momma knew where we were. So that was a positive place for us to go because she knew when we were up there we were doing something positive," Morgan said.

In addition to the late-night program, Dallas Parks and Rec will offer what they call roving camps at six different recreation centers Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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