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Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

District Attorney, New York County

For Immediate Release
October 15, 2015

DA VANCE ANNOUNCES EXPANSION OF BOROUGH-WIDE YOUTH VIOLENCE PREVENTION PROGRAM

More Than 5,000 Boys and Girls Ages 11-to-18 Have Received Free, High-Quality Fitness Activities, Sports Training, Academic Support Since 2011


Expanded Initiative Includes Free Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball, Dance and Academic Programming at 14 Locations

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the expansion of Satur¬¬day Night Lights (“SNL”), a comprehensive youth violence prevention initiative, to 17 programs across Manhattan. The expansion includes enhanced academic support and advocacy, as well as high-quality sports, dance, and fitness activities. Community-based organizations recently awarded funding through the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will lead on-site programming in coordination with staff from Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Since its creation in October 2011, SNL has served more than 5,000 kids between the ages of 11-to-18, completely free of charge. 

“The belief that a crime prevented is far better than a crime prosecuted resulted in the creation of Saturday Night Lights – the cornerstone of my Office’s diversion and crime prevention programming,” said District Attorney Vance. “Programs like Saturday Night Lights not only build trust between community members and law enforcement, but give at-risk teens a safe place and healthy environment during the hours when violence is most prevalent in their neighborhoods. This cost-efficient, crime-fighting strategy has impacted the lives of thousands of teens across Manhattan, and we will now be able to help thousands more in the coming years through our expanded initiative.”

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office launched Saturday Night Lights in the fall of 2011 in response to the prosecution of a violent gang that recruited teenagers and young children to transport guns and drugs for gang members. Since then, it has grown from a basketball program offered at a single location to kids between the ages of 13 and 15 on one night of the week, to 17 programs offered year-round at 14 locations across Manhattan two nights of the week. The athletics offerings have expanded from just basketball to include volleyball, soccer, tennis, baseball, and dance. 

The ten community-based organizations that were awarded funding to offer Saturday Night Lights programming include: 

  • Boys Club of New York 
  • Catholic Charities of New York
  • City in the Community Foundation
  • Community Association of Progressive Dominicans
  • Graham Windham Services to Families and Children
  • Henry Street Settlement
  • Hetrick-Martin Institute
  • Police Athletic League
  • Supportive Children’s Advocacy Network (SCAN) New York
  • Union Settlement Association

SNL focuses on providing services to teens living in Manhattan communities where violent crime is most prevalent: Washington Heights, West Harlem, Central Harlem, East Harlem, and the Lower East Side. For a full list of SNL sites and programming under the expansion, or to enroll a child, visit our website