play / 2016

People for Parks' Community School Parks Go Kid Healthy!

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by People for Parks

People for Parks transforms public park access. Partnering with Kid Healthy we’ll train parents to grow our 11 new Community School Parks into vibrant places for kids and families to play and thrive.

Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

We are collaborating with Kid Healthy, a community based organization, on parent empowerment at our Community School Parks. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will assist us with data collection and review so that we may evaluate our progress.

Please describe your project proposal.

In 2016, People for Parks (PFP) opened 9 new Community School Parks (CSPs) for use during non-school hours, providing a park within walking distance of 45,000 Angelenos. In 2017, PFP will operate 11 CSPs and through a strategic partnership with Kid Healthy, train parents and residents in neighborhood engagement, recruiting, playground management and physical activities. Community mobilization by PFP and Kid Healthy will keep these play spaces open and sustainable.

Which of the play metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Access to open space and park facilities
  • Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play
  • Number of children enrolled in afterschool programs
  • Number of parks with intergenerational play opportunities
  • Number of residents with easy access to a “vibrant” park
  • Per capita crime rates
  • Perceived safety

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

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

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to play?

People for Parks (PFP) will make LA the best place to PLAY in 2017 in two ways. First, we will continue operating our 11 Community School Parks (CSPs). Second, in collaboration with community based organization Kid Healthy, we will empower community members to become leaders in recreation, play and park vibrancy so that CSPs are fully utilized and become self-sustaining.

CSPs are supervised school playgrounds that PFP opens to the public on weekends and during the summer. Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) youth enrichment staff engage park-goers in play, sports and art & crafts. PFP’s community organizer carries out community empowerment. LAUSD is the second largest landowner in LA. CSPs “joint use” of otherwise locked playgrounds is a creative way to provide park space in dense neighborhoods.

PFP will partner with Kid Healthy to customize and carry out its quarterly “Padres En Accion” (PEA) education series with parents from all of our CSPs. Together we will train parents on playground leadership, physical activity, joint use and the recruitment of other parents and neighbors in recreation activities. This builds upon outstanding examples of inter-generational play, found at our Vine St CSP, where one grandma is a sought after goalie and Berendo, where neighbors formed a handball league enjoyed by players of all ages. PEA sessions will be interactive with hands-on role-play and action planning to keep CSPs safe, fun and enriching. We will hold each training at one CSP site. Three parents from each CSP will participate in the training and then share what they learned at each of their sites. PFP’s Community Organizer will support this ongoing knowledge sharing.

Background: In 2016, with an LA2050 grant and leveraged matching funds, we opened 9 new Community School Parks, making a total of 11! Located in Pico-Union, Westlake, Central Alameda, South Park, Hollywood, and Koreatown, these CSPs provide safe park access for more than 55,000 Angelenos and support community building and healthy lifestyles through play.

We also grew our team with a Community Organizer who leads our CSP Incubator, helping parents and neighbors take ownership of these community spaces through parent-led activities such as Zumba classes, park beautification days, gardening clubs and sports teams. This has helped lower crime and strengthen perceived safety. Berendo’s principal, Rosa Trujillo, writes, “Adults at the Saturday program clean and supervise their respective areas, decreasing vandalism activities as they take more ownership of the shared space.”

And a parent shared, “Each staff member we have met has been wonderful. I know they are always keeping an eye on my son to make sure he is safe and having a good time.”

This grant will help keep our CSPs thriving, and allow us to take our community empowerment to the next level through a strategic partnership with Kid Healthy, helping make LA the best place to PLAY for generations to come.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

Aided by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, PFP will evaluate the following outcomes. Results will contribute to program improvement and demonstrate success on LA2050 dream metrics.

Goal1–Expand community use of CSPs:

We will use geographic mapping to examine each CSP to understand how many and what types of people we are creating access for (eg, age groups, income, access to resources). We will use a systematic observation tool to measure how many and what types of people use the parks. We aim to serve 300-500 parkgoers per month and 4500+ for special events.

Goal 2–Empower individuals to access parks and take community leadership roles: We will systematically collect data from parents, children, and community members in outreach activities (e.g., trainings) to understand barriers and facilitators to parks access, tools/resources we can provide, and needed changes in community capacity. Outreach and park attendance data will be linked to understand what activities increase park use.

Goal 3–Improve individual and community wellbeing:
We will examine annual scores from LAUSD’s Physical Fitness 5th grade testing to describe youth activity levels and obesity rates. We will also conduct interviews with school staff to understand the impacts of CSP use on student health, parent involvement, and neighborhood quality (e.g., park quality, crime and safety).

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

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Staff
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)
  • Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research