PHILADELPHIA, July 24, 2012 — State Sen. Anthony H. Williams will launch his second annual Neighborhood-to-Neighborhood Summer of Peace initiative with a series of family-friendly events, starting this weekend.

The first activity comes with the senator co-hosting the annual Weekend of Peace festivities, kicking off Saturday, July 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cobbs Creek Recreation Center, 250 South 63rd St., Philadelphia. The event will feature free food, swimming and games for folks of all ages. A balloon release to commemorate those slain will take place at noon. All are welcome to attend.

“This is a great opportunity to enjoy a summer cookout in the company of friends and neighbors while providing an example of peace and tranquility in our streets,” Williams said. “I welcome everyone to bring their families and join us for a fun-filled day.”

Running concurrent with Saturday’s event will be a community discussion on youth violence from 12:30-2 p.m. at the Eastwick Recreation Center, 80th Street and Mars Place, where the senator will join the panel. Area students and Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Curtis Douglas also will participate.

The second cookout will take place on Saturday, Aug. 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Vare Recreation Center, located at 2600 Morris St. in Philadelphia and the final cookout will take place on Saturday, Aug. 25 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Nile Swim Club, located at 513 S. Union Ave. in Yeadon.

Each event features outdoor games where kids can romp, compete and play in a safe environment. Details and updates on each event can be found on the senator’s website, or by calling (215) 492-2980.

Community sponsors for these activities include SYSCO, Sunoco, Keystone Mercy, Brown’s ShopRite, WAWA and the West Philadelphia Coalition of Neighborhoods and Businesses.

With Philadelphia police reporting the city’s homicide rate and related stray bullets ticking upward as of July, safeguarding children becomes even more paramount, Williams noted.

The Summer of Peace initiative replaced his annual N2N Street Festival, channeling resources to support ongoing community-based efforts rather than a one-day affair. Now in its second year, the Summer of Peace continues to offer a variety of local events that neighbors across the district can enjoy while supporting local organizations that promote safety and peace.

“The inaugural Summer of Peace last year was extremely successful because it provided a viable template for how to support those grassroots organizations that are working hard to help uplift our children and keep them from harm,” Williams said. “I’m confident that, with the support of area businesses and foundations, this year will be even better, and that this initiative will become the new summertime tradition here.”