CLINTON — Area families can help put “UNITY” in community by attending the “Youth for A Safe, Non-Violent Community” event in Clinton Park on Saturday.

The event provides a safe place for families to enjoy a day together in a drug, alcohol and violence-free celebration. The event has been supported for more than a decade by local businesses and organizations. Involving all ages and bringing families together, the event has consisted of numerous games, a basketball tournament and food prepared by the congregation of the Bethel AME Church.

In the early 1990s, local community leader and Director of Youth Programs at Bethel AME Church Vince Jetter started the Youth for a Safe Non-Violent Community event, which is now held every summer. In the beginning, the event was sponsored by the NAACP but now is hosted by Bethel AME Church and supported through donations from businesses, social agencies and community members.

“For Vince to start something like this, that was the first step for bringing the African-American community together. Actually, he brought the whole Clinton community together,” said picnic planning committee member Tiffany Harris. “Vince did an excellent job keeping it going. He was a prominent member of our community and he did many wonderful things for Clinton. We are just trying to continue and expand what he started.”

Picnic planning committee members have spent the last several months organizing the event and coordinating activities. The event planning committee consisted of Harris, Nicollette Jetter, Tammy Jetter, Dina White, Linda Ramig, Cynthia Williams and Tasha Winston.

Organizers say there will be something for everyone including a slam-dunk contest, family obstacle course, games for children, music provided by a deejay and free food. Many Clinton area social agencies are showing support by setting up information booths. While there is a cost to play basketball, participation in the rest of the event is free. A grand prize in the form of a membership to the YMCA or YWCA will be awarded for the winner of the obstacle course. Door prizes will be given out throughout the day.

Anyone who loves to play basketball will want to participate in the three- on-three basketball tournament. Registration is $10 per team and teams may consist of three to four players. Tip-off will take place at 10 a.m.

“This year, there will be lots of things for families to do, from kids all the way up to adults,” Harris said. “It’s an excellent family event. There’s free food, games and prizes. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Last year, hundreds of people participated in the event, which is open to the entire community. Because it is an outdoor event, guests are asked to bring a blanket or lawn chair and to leave pets at home.

The planning committee expressed a desire to make this year’s picnic the biggest and best yet.

“It’s definitely a special time for families and for diversity in the Clinton community. We just encourage everyone to come out and support Vince’s legacy,” said Harris. “Whether you stop by for five to 10 minutes or stay a while, we just want everyone to come and have a good time and show their community support.”

In addition to the picnic, New Directions will be doing a street marketing campaign highlighting how many people die each day from smoking. Volunteers will be tracing 1,200 body outlines in chalk in the parking lot.

The Youth for a Safe Non-Violent Community picnic will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday in Clinton Park at Third Avenue South and Third Street.