play / 2015

Together We Play L.A.!

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Inclusion Matters By Shane's Inspiration

Shane's Inspiration will help eliminate bullying by designing/developing 2 fully inclusive playgrounds in South Central Los Angeles, uniting children of all abilities through play. Once open, Shane's Inspiration will implement a city-wide school-based education program expansion that transforms the playgrounds into outdoor classrooms where profound lessons of acceptance and compassion are learned, helping to diminish harmful stereotypes that lead to bullying and exclusion.

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • South LA
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Expand a pilot or a program
  • Advocate for social inclusion via play with school staff and parents.

How will your proposal improve the following “Play” metrics?

  • Access to open space and park facilities
  • Percentage of residents that feel safe in their neighborhoods
  • Residents within 1⁄4 mile of a park (Dream Metric)
  • Number of residents with easy access to a “vibrant” park (Dream Metric)
  • Number of parks with intergenerational play opportunities (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to play.

Building on the foundation that we are only as strong as we are united, Together We Play L.A.! will begin by creating two uniquely designed, fully-inclusive playgrounds in South Central Los Angeles at Jackie Tatum and Vermont Gage Park. The collective play area will feature 20,000 square feet of sensory rich and challenging play opportunities for children of all abilities.

Upon completion in February of 2016, Shane’s Inspiration will transform these playgrounds, along with others already in progress throughout the County of Los Angeles, into classrooms bringing 3,500 children of all abilities together where they will learn profound lessons of acceptance, understanding and respect for diversity.

Children with disabilities are 66% more likely to be bullied than their typically developing peers due to damaging misconceptions and bias. By discovering our similarities and connections, children are able to build powerful bridges of friendship and inclusion.

Educators will deliver interactive class workshops to elementary and middle school students designed to increase understanding of people with disabilities which will include:

Writing and group discussion about feelings and assumptions about disabilities;

A fast-paced verbal game that helps differentiate between disability fact and myth;

A powerful video shows children with disabilities in their daily lives, giving students a chance to identify with their peers; and

Simulation exercises offer possible perspectives of individuals with disabilities

Staff workshops on social inclusion best practices and how to support students

Students are then prepared for their field trip with specific tools to interact with peers who have non-verbal communication, sensory processing differences, and physical challenges.

We provide transportation from the campus to the playground via local transit companies. Our staff meet the students at the playground, where we support children with and without disabilities during a day of integration and play.

A classroom workshop will follow the field trip, including a written exercise, wrap-up discussion, Q & A and a closing activity that illustrates the reciprocity of the exchange.

“After being a buddy on my field trip, a person with a disability makes me feel like I want to play with them and have fun. I don’t feel nervous anymore because they are just like me!” Emma, 4th Grade

This powerful acceptance of our diversity will make LA the very best place to play!

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

“You can learn more about someone in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Plato

Our educators will measure attitudinal shifts in students via pre- and post-field trip written assessments. Prior to their field trips, students may communicate that they are: fearful of people in wheelchairs; sad and believe people with disabilities are unable to live a fulfilling life; afraid of touching people with disabilities because they are contagious; and afraid of being hurt by them.

Written assessments after the field trips may reveal a major shift in perception. In one classroom of 5th graders, the words sad and bad were repeated 90 times in their written assessments. After their field trip, those same words were used 19 times.

Educators will also be given a written assessment form to provide valuable feedback on their experience of the program.

It is our goal to work in partnership with a local university to create a broader assessment of this program.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Education/training
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research