Kansas City leaders say more programs are needed for youth in the summer and teens agree

KANSAS CITY, Missouri - After another fight on the Country Club Plaza broke out Saturday night that resulted in one arrest, NBC Action News talked to teens who hang out there. Teens say they need more places to hang out with more programs and things to do, especially in the summer, and city leaders agreed.

Wednesday, a city official said youth jobs are expected to be less this summer. The city official reported that last year the city and the full employment council used stimulus money to provide 31,000 summer youth jobs. This year that stimulus money is gone and only 350 jobs will be available.

With less jobs expected, city leaders don't want a repeat of last summer's problems when crowds of teens caused trouble on the Plaza. Last summer, people were injured and some teens were arrested.

Jamaya Lopez is 12 years old. Her mother said she drops her daughter off to go the movies there.

"Me and my friends, we go to the movies and then we just walk around when it's warm," said Lopez.

But even she admitted that sometimes things get out of control.

"It turns into fights when there are so many kids," said Lopez.

Lopez said there's nothing to do in the summer and many kids get bored.

"I think we should make a different hang out that is kids, but there just under control," said Lopez.

And 15-year-old G'tavius Mosley who is a freshman at Southwest Early College Campus agreed.

"We need to build more places for kids to go especially in the summer, a center where boys and girls can go to find activities like basketball and something for the girls like cheerleading," said Mosely.

Community activist Alvin Brooks also agreed with the teens.

"It's a very frustrating every year this time of year we do the same thing. We need to work together so we can set out something so where we can give these kids some options. If you don't have any options, you're going to continue to have what you have. We have to stop fingerprinting, we have to stop that. It's everybody's problem, it's everybody's city," said Brooks.

He wants to see city leaders, business owners, police and parents work together to give teens productive things to do during the summer.

The city said they have plans to unveil a teen program soon. We will certainly keep watching to any developments.

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