LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — In recognition of an urgent need for action, Lafayette city and parish leaders on Tuesday announced a new collaboration to create what they are calling a ‘safe haven’ for youth with the hopes of reducing gun violence in the community.

Parish Councilman Abraham “AB” Rubin Jr. is the chairman of the group.

He says the new collaboration with Girard Park will allow youth to gather at the park on Saturday’s at 6 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. for fun indoor activities.

“I’m tired of putting T-shirts on, and letting balloons go after the fact. We’re changing the narrative today,” Rubin said.

The new summer program would start June 4 and end the last Saturday in July.

Rubin said the safe haven program would be a direct response to the increased crime rate that happens during the summer.

“We need to change the language of what’s going on, we need to change the narrative.”

Hollis Conway is the director of Parks, Arts, Recreation & Culture at Girard Park.

He said they are excited to partner with the parish council and be a solution to the violence in the community.

“We have facilities, we have programming and things that can help bring our kids some activities that bring them some education, some leadership, some training, some things that can really help them.”

One student from Carencro High expressed how teenagers need the program to become a reality.

“We need this because in all honesty we’re scared we don’t have any more opportunities to go out and have fun like we used to.”

She shared how the recent shooting of a 16-year-old girl is still impacting her.

“Its crazy,” she said.

In his statements about the weekend shooting, Rubin expressed how both families have taken a huge lost.

“When one person dies we lose two people, the person that goes to the grave and the person that goes to jail. So we lost two future productive members of our community,” said Rubin.

“Think about the children. It’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than you. It’s about our future.”

Food will be provided, however Rubin says the community’s help is needed with transportation and chaperones.

Anyone who wishes to volunteer should attend a meeting Wednesday, (May 25) at 6 p.m. at 4306 Moss Street.

He says you can him by phone at 337-852-1130.