ROCHESTER — Emily Martínez came to the 20th-annual Safe Summer event at Seneca Park for the first time with her two sons, ages 6 and 7.
She said that she especially appreciated the resources provided by the various participating agencies, including information about the dangers of putting food in plastic to warm up in a microwave.
"I do that, (so) I learned something new," Martínez said. "This is definitely a good thing."
This year’s event on July 16 also included a performance by Grupo Cultural Latino, music by a local DJ and lunch. Aimed at promoting health and wellness, community engagement and safety education, Safe Summer was originally created by Maria Godreau as part of Proyecto Ayuda Outreach. That outreach program was run by Puerto Rican Youth & Development, which merged with several years ago with the Ibero American Action League.
Santos Montañez, a prevention counselor at Ibero, presented Godreau with a plaque for her years of service with Safe Summer.
Godreau said that the goal always was to give city youths a safe alternative during the summer and provide them with the tools to stay off drugs. She came up with an outdoor event for families because baseball and other sports were always a big draw for kids in Puerto Rico.
"I’m very, very proud," she said. "And I’m grateful that Ibero & PRYD kept it going."
Safe Summer also annually provides parents with the opportunity to sign up for Safe Child identification cards, which include a child’s name, biographical information and digital fingerprint images.