Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

25 Summer Resources For Kids

For recreation, classes, safety, health and healing

Many organizations in Milwaukee, including the Urban Ecology Center, offer summer programming for youth. File photo by Sue Vliet/NNS.

Last summer, the COVID-19 pandemic severely limited or shut down nearly all youth programming in Milwaukee or pushed it virtual. But, thankfully, this year, many programs are up and running and seeking youth to serve.  The changes couldn’t come at a better time, with most schools letting out and the city once again dealing with spiraling violence.

This guide provides some resources to help keep you and your kids safe and engaged this summer. If you’d like to add your organization’s programming to the list, please email


414 Life

414 Life is a violence interruption team based in Milwaukee neighborhoods and hospitals through partnerships with Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin and Uniting Garden Homes.

Project Ujima

Project Ujima, based out of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, works with youths who have experienced violence and end up in the hospital. The project provides crisis intervention, case management, social and emotional support, youth development and mentoring and mental health services.

Sojourner Family Peace Center

Sojourner Family Peace Center provides services, support and safety resources to victims of domestic violence. Its 24-hour hotline and crisis shelter number is (414) 933-2722.


Alert Neighbor Program

The Alert Neighbor Program encourages residents in 15 Milwaukee neighborhoods to report negative activity. To learn more about or participate in the Alert Neighbor Program, here is the program overview (PDF) and the program information sheet (PDF).

Safe and Sound Inc.

The mission of Safe and Sound is to “unite residents, youth, law enforcement and community resources to build safe and empowered neighborhoods.” You can find its neighborhood safety resources here. See where Safe and Sound works here, and what events it’s organizing this summer here.


Beyond the Bell Milwaukee

Beyond the Bell is a collaborative effort to ensure that youth have access to coordinated and quality programs and services. This initiative is currently focused on programs and services for youth ages 12-18. Find information on how to contact Beyond the Bell here.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee

Boys and Girls Clubs offers safe spaces and activities for youths from kindergarten to high school all over the city to learn, play and hang out. More than 40 clubs in Milwaukee are offering summer programming this year. Find a club near you or enroll here.

COA Youth and Family Center

COA offers programming and safe spaces for youths of all ages—including athletics, art and gardening—all summer long at its two locations: 909 E. Garfield Ave. and 2320 W. Burleigh St. For more information on specific opportunities, look here.

HeartLove Place

Located at 1927 N. Vel R. Phillips Ave., HeartLove Place is a faith-based organization that offers youth programming and family resources. Find more information here.

Hmong American Women’s Association

The Hmong American Women’s Association, or HAWA, has several programs geared toward Southeast Asian youths that focus on “empowering leadership in youth through community organizing and involvement.”  More details are here.

Journey House

Journey House offers youth development, athletic and art programs on Milwaukee’s near South Side at 2110 W Scott St. You can find the different options here.

Ma’ruf Center for Youth Innovation

Ma’ruf is a youth center located at 2110 W. Hampton Ave. It offers a mentorship program for males and females on Mondays and Wednesdays and a tutoring program on Monday-Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The organization also provides martial arts, grappling and judo classes and will run a creative arts/literacy program later this summer. Other programming includes leadership development, a barbershop and gaming classes. Sign up to donate, volunteer or participate here.

Milwaukee Christian Center

Milwaukee Christian Center has a youth development program at Kosciuszko Community Center, located at 2201 S. 7th St.

Milwaukee Public Libraries

Beginning on June 7, patrons will be allowed to resume browsing materials in the stacks for both children’s and adult materials in all branch locations. (Browsing remains restricted at the downtown Central Library.) Libraries will still offer curbside pickup and virtual activities for youth and adults. Learn more here.

Milwaukee Public Schools

MPS is offering both in-person and virtual summer programming for youth from K-5 through 12th grade. Options include credit recovery, school-to-work transition, and career exploration programs. Learn more and register for the free summer programming here.

MKE REC (Milwaukee Recreation)

Milwaukee Recreation provides a variety of programming for youth, adults and families in Milwaukee. Learn more here.  In addition, Community Learning Centers, or CLCs, will launch on June 21. Here is a list of CLC sites.


Neu-Life works to empower and instill leadership in neighborhood youths through a wide array of programs and is located at 2014 W North Ave. Check out more here.

Pius XI High School

Pius is offering a range of opportunities through its 2021 Summer Camp Series. Courses include athletics, 3-D modeling and photography. There is a fee for the classes. Learn more about the camp here.

Program the Parks MKE

Program the Parks MKE works to provide community support, activities, food and project-based employment opportunities for youths in local parks. Follow the group’s Facebook page for more information.

Silver Spring Neighborhood Center

Silver Spring is located in Westlawn at 5460 N. 64th St. and has programs for all ages. You can learn more here.

Summit Educational Association

Summit runs a seven-week Summer Olympics Program for students in the fourth-eighth grades. Learn more and register for their programs here.

Urban Ecology Center

The Urban Ecology Center has branches in Washington Park, Riverside Park and the Menomonee Valley and offers programs that help connect youth with nature. Learn more about the center’s Summer Camps or other programming here.

Urban Underground

Urban Underground offers paid summer leadership programming for youths ages 13-18 through the City of Milwaukee Earn and Learn program. Find more information here.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

The UWM School of Continuing Education is hosting in-person programming this summer through its College for Kids and Teens program. Courses range from creative arts and chemistry to designing computer games. Learn more and register here.

We Got This

We Got This is running its ninth summer program on Saturdays beginning at 8 a.m. The program runs from June to August and is for youth ages 12-16. Register by filling out the application and turning in to Running Rebels or the We Got This Garden or call.

To learn more about violence prevention efforts and strategy in Milwaukee, check out the Blueprint for Peace.

Here is a list of resources to help keep our kids safe and engaged this summer was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. 

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