Sunday, April 13, 2014


Summer is almost here.  That three months of promise you work for the rest of the year.

“After all," Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”--- L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

If you are an urban or inner-ring suburban kid, especially if you are African-American, there is almost nothing for you to do constructively with your peers.

Instead of listing the tens and possibly hundreds of links about the Delmar Loop's summer youth "problem", check your search engines for "delmar loop curfew"  or "problems with kids in delmar loop", etc.  (Lupe's previous post on this:  Also, this post about the "Delmar Divide", on the economic inequalities between north and south St. Louis. )

The one thing the city and counties have never seriously considered is opening an under-age club.  It gets lip service during the summer and then evaporates when school starts again.

The smart, powerful businessmen and civic leaders and politicians can't work something out?

Go ask the kids what they want! What do they want to do? What would they pay for and how much can they pay?  What is a good location?

Check out this great opinion piece by the awesome students of University City High School:

Maybe a weekend teen club at the riverfront?  Maybe some rich developer could donate the space or some sort of grant could be worked out?  How much is the city spending to deal with the situation?  Take that money and build something constructive!

Make it very cheap to enter. As cheap as possible, and definitely less than $5.

The police are already sending a big chunk of District 7 to patrol the Delmar Metrolink, maybe they could staff security at the club?  To enter could be like entering a government building, with a metal search.  That should take care of any seriously violent confrontations that everyone seems so scared about.

Sell kid food (burgers, hot dogs, churros, canned drinks).  Every Friday and Saturday night is contest night.  Anyone can enter, and the audience votes by ballot.  Rap and Rhyme Contest, Beauty Contest, Dance Contest, Singers and Musicians, Hair and Fashion Shows, etc.  Ask the kids!  Ask them for ideas!  What categories?  What themes?

Prizes could be free entrance, or free food and drink.  Or even cash, once the club started making money.  There could be a community cable channel coverage, and teens could submit video's and photos to a youtube channel.

Decorations could be done by mural painters and youth artists.

The St. Louis Central Library has the great new "Creative Pods", perhaps during the week they could devote some time to training kids on how to record their songs and edit their youtube films, etc?

People like Nelly and Murphy Lee and Tef-Poe could host or perhaps co-judge with the audience ballots on performances.

Kids could work the clean-up and either be paid, or perhaps some sort of free entry, free food and drink tickets for cleaning up.

The local media could promote and cover the winners regularly.

Our youth deserve better.  They are our future.  Let's give them a chance to shine.