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National Night Out: Celebrating community strengths together

A night to bring the community together and demonstrate that everyone belongs will be held Oct. 5 this year as part of the National Night Out program.

New Bedford’s Shannon Program is hosting the outdoor event at New Bedford High School with local organizations and public safety representatives, refreshments, give-aways, and games and activities for children.

National Night Out is an annual event that supports closer relationships between neighborhoods and public safety officials, including police officers.

It’s intended to be a fun and enjoyable evening, but with an important message of community strength and connection.

“National Night out is a time for us to come together as one community where we’re actually celebrating each other for all of the things that we bring to the table,” said Renee Ledbetter, organizer and Shannon Project Manager. “This is just for us...This is a time for everybody.”

The Shannon Program works with youth ages 10-24 in the city, providing intervention services and support. Ledbetter said Shannon Program staff had been seeing the effects of trauma in the kids they serve well before COVID-19 hit, but that the pandemic has made everything worse.

This event is intended to bring people together to help them understand they are not alone and that every individual counts. The focus is on showing that our community bonds make us stronger.

During the event, children will have a chance to get a close-up look at a police helicopter as well as fire trucks and ambulances. The National Guard and Bristol County Sheriff’s Department will also be represented.

There will also be resources available for families and adults seeking information about housing, employment, after school programs, and other services.

All of these areas contribute to better public safety, said Ledbetter.

National Night Out will be held from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at New Bedford High School. Everyone is welcome to participate.

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