OAKLAND -- The Friday Summer Nights program featuring free food, games and entertainment starts Friday and runs through Aug. 15.
In East Oakland, the events are at Carter Gilmore Park on 66th Avenue and Willie Wilkins Park on 98th Avenue.
The West Oakland locations are at 3233 Market Street, at the intersection of Brockhurst and Market.
The free events are from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
As part of Mayor Jean Quan's parks project, Oakland Unite's Messengers4Change, a violence prevention organization, started Friday Summer Nights three summers ago at violent hot spots in East Oakland. To build on the success the program saw, a city and county neighborhood project started the Friday Night Live Program in West Oakland last summer.
The initial summer's events showed positive results. The average number of police incidents in the Willie Wilkins Park area decreased by almost half during the time the events were held compared to the average of the previous two years, a city news release stated.
The programs are aimed at supporting residents who take a stand against violence and decreasing violence by offering activities and extended park hours in neighborhoods with high rates of violence during the peak times when violence occurs.
Oakland's Friday Summer Nights are modeled after Los Angeles' program.
Funding for the East Oakland Friday Summer Nights at the Park Program is from Oakland Unite through Measure Y and a federal grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The Oakland Fund for Children and Youth and the Office of Mayor Jean Quan are partners.
The West Oakland Friday Night Live Program is funded by a City-County Neighborhood Initiative project through Measure Y and partnerships with Oakland Unite, the Alameda County Department of Public Health, the Office of Mayor Quan, the Office of Councilwoman Lynette McElhaney, the YMCA of the East Bay and Alternatives in Action.
For more information, go to www.messengers4change.org.