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Programs available to keep children busy in Memphis this summer

MEMPHIS, Tenn.-- We’re just days away from the start of summer break for many students and that means finding something for them to do to keep them out of the heat and out of trouble.

"I promise you, the gang members they recruit through the summer," said Stevie Moore, Founder and President of Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives. He does community outreach to help put an end to violence.

He wants Memphians to do everything possible to make sure teens this summer are not just safe but supported.

He's calling on everyone to step up.

"If the churches would open up their doors all over this community, just open up. Some children are not going to have anything to eat during the summer," he said.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland recently said investing in youth is part of his crime plan.

Starting this summer, library hours throughout the city will be extended and many branches that used to be closed on Fridays will be open.

"What we do know is that kids that don’t have access to these things feel left out, and if they don’t feel left out and feel like they’re being invested in, they care very little about investing back in their communities and investing in themselves. We want to make sure we’re spreading out this wonderful blanket of opportunity for every kid," explained parent, Amy Ruggaber, who was on her way to the Benjamin Hooks Library with her child.

The parks department said there is still some space available at city-run summer camps, but you have to check with the closest community center near you.

The city has also compiled a list of resources and places to go in a summer guide that provides activities at different price points.

Moore said going to a library isn’t for every child, but it’s important for adults to find a way to try and help and be a role model.

"Just be available to help our children," he said.

Here's the "Summer in Memphis" guide