KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For two-plus decades, Mayor’s Night Out has led the start of every summer in Kansas City, Missouri.

That was no different Saturday as Mayor Quinton Lucas hosted the grand kickoff. The event is designed so that youth across Kansas City can engage in their community educationally and athletically.

As drums echoed through the Southeast Community Center Gym with youth stepping and some of the kids who make up the greater Kansas City area running up and down the court, the mayor says the city is focusing on the positives.

“We care about you, we’re excited to see you have fun and more than anything we want you to grow up to be a mayor or a professional basketball player…or anything under the sun,” said Lucas.

The event runs the course of the summer and it’s an outlet for the young people to have fun, but it’s also an opportunity for them to grow.

“They give young kids the chance to get out of the house,” said Beryah Woods, an employee at the Southeast Community Center.

The program includes sports but requires those that participate to take classes like ACT Prep. A mission to build up the city while keeping the youth safe.

“This is definitely a big deal in the community, to keep our kids’ minds occupied,” said Junette Hill, a mother of six in Kansas City.

The mayor echoes those sentiments saying that these events are important.

“This is how we make a difference. When you talk about preventing crime and you talk about preventing challenges later and building a better city, you got to invest in people while they’re young. That’s what we’re doing in Kansas City,” said Mayor Lucas.

Not only will the events sponsored through the mayor’s office be available, but programs at the Southeast Community Center will also run all summer during the weeks as Hill said to keep the kids occupied.

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