Southwest Fresno has seen its fair share of violence, which is why the policing district there decided to take part in a program called: Bringing Broken Neighborhoods Back to Life. The goal is to take kids out of the area, and show them a life without crime.
Braving amusement park rides, and going down waterslides are common childhood activities. But, that's not the case for many kids, who spent Thursday night taking it all in at Blackbeard's Family Entertainment Center.
"Is this your first time here?
11-year-old Artaja Stovall said, "Yeah."
"What do you think?"
"I think it's fun and I enjoy it."
"Bringing Broken Neighborhoods Back to Life" is a collaborative effort between Fresno Police and faith-based organizations. The goal: show children what life is really like outside crime-ridden areas.
Parent, Francina Pleasant said, "When I was young, like these kids' age, a lot of this didn't go on. We didn't have these opportunities you know, to be able to come to Blackbeard's on Thursday night with an organization. But, what they're doing right now, I think will make a big difference."
That's what law enforcement is hoping, especially now. Fresno Police have seen a recent spike in gang violence. In Southwest Fresno for example, there have been nine shootings over the past 28 days, forcing chief dyer to deploy more officers onto the streets.
Captain Greg Garner, with Fresno Police said, "Especially when you're young, you come to think that's reality, that's what the world is about. So it's important that we not only focus on law enforcement efforts from the police department, but we also focus on community involvement."
That involvement centers around kids, whose smiles say it all.
10 year old Lore'al Stovall said, "I think it's cool and it's fun, and it helps us like express ourselves and stuff like that."
The event was a fundraiser for the organization, which puts on 20 block parties a year.