CHICAGO — The Salvation Army hosted a family-friendly event in Humboldt Park which, along with the fun, introduced residents to safe alternatives for the summer.

The Rock the Block celebration kicked off the season at the Freedom Center at Chicago and Christina Avenue.

The festival had music, crafts, farm animals, pony rides and a safe haven for Humboldt Park families.

After receiving a Reimagining Public Safety grant from the state, the money must be spent on youth programs designed to curb violence.

Another goal is to educate the community on services the organization offers, like housing and rental assistance, a food pantry and free after-school programs and summer camp.

Parents said young people on the West and South sides desperately need activities like these, especially when the school ear ends.