Nearly 6,500 neighbors throughout Erie County will spend a little quality time with each other on Tuesday, August 7 thanks to United Way of Erie County. United Way’s support of National Night Out dates back to 2004 and since that time funding has been provided to organizations, neighborhood associations and watch groups annually. This year, eighteen collaborative groups have received funding from United Way to celebrate National Night Out.
National Night Out events, nationally sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, aim to empower local neighborhoods, heighten the awareness of crime prevention and reinforce the spirit of community. Events, which will take place in the City of Erie and various sites located in Erie County will include free food, music and games, along with the opportunity to interact with local police and fire departments.
Events funded by United Way of Erie County seek to promote the spirit of community and encourage everyone to play a role in supporting the education of youth in our neighborhoods. Event highlights include gatherings at:
- Gridley Park organized by Our West Bayfront.
- Edison, a United Way community school organized by Edison and Boys & GirlsClub of Erie
- The Pfeiffer-Burleigh, a United Way community School organized by Family Services of NWPA, YMCA of Greater Erie, ServErie and Booker T. Washington Center
- McKinley Elementary, a United Way Community School organized inpartnership with the Sisters of Saint Joseph Neighborhood Network and Youth Leadership Institute of Erie
- East Middle, a United Way Community School organized by the Community School Director and Out-of-School Time Coordinator at East.
Now in its thirty-fourth year, National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate participation in local anti-crime efforts, and strengthen neighborhood spirit.
The introduction of National Night Out, “America’s Night Out Against Crime”, in 1984 began an effort to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
The first National Night Out took place on Tuesday, August 7, 1984. That first year, 2.5 million Americans took part across 400 communities in 23 states. The seed had been planted.
National Night Out now involves more than 38 million people and more than 16,000 communities from all fifty states, U.S. Territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide.