Dunbar hopes end-of-school bash helps curb crime


FORT MYERS, Fla. Violence is known all too well in the Dunbar neighborhood.

Friday, the community turned out in an effort to change that.

The Dunbar Stop the Violence Celebration, an annual last-day-of-school party in its 11th year, invites children and parents to come out for a day of fun, food and games in an effort to show them how to get along with their peers.

The beginning of summer vacation represents an opportunity to channel kids’ energy away from fighting and crime and toward a brighter future, Fort Myers police Lt. Jay Rodriguez said.

“It’s tough to be a parent if you’re hardworking and there’s a lot of good, hardworking folks out there whose kids are gonna have a lot of down time,” Rodriguez said. “So we want to get a jump on it and make sure that they do something productive.”

Former Dunbar Community School Principal Dr. Charles Bailey calls it one of the greatest events the community can have.

“These kinds of activities should be taking place in pockets across the city, across the county,” Bailey said. “Because not just here, but violence takes place all over.”

Rodriguez believes it’s an idea that seems to be working. He also finds it a way to impart the notion that police aren’t the enemy.

It’s important “just to be part of the community so they can see our faces and know who we are and know that we’re here for them,” Rodriguez said.

Bailey also sees it as an opportunity for children to realize all the possibilities in their future.

“There is a chance for upward mobility,” Bailey said. “And that’s what we need to continue to promote.”

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