play Finalist / 2019
Mobile Recreation Program
Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks
The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) will launch a Mobile Recreation Program to bring a variety of outdoor activities to children and families in underserved communities. Each Mobile Recreation Vehicle will provide differently themed activities ranging from sports to drama and dance to STEM activities. The program will commence on the weekends at four LAUSD elementary schools in high park-need areas through the Departments Community School Parks Program.
What does your organization do?
The Department enriches the lives of Los Angeles residents by providing safe, welcoming parks and recreation facilities with affordable recreational and social activities for people of all ages.
Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.
- Los Angeles Parks Foundation (LAPF)
- Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)
Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.
RAP envisions an accessible park system for all residents and is committed to equity by specifically focusing its resources to close disparities in park access and park program participation. RAP has several programs that focus on subsidies and increased participation to close equity gaps. Our Girls Play LA program addresses gender and financial barriers for girls ages 8-15 to play sports; our Universal Play program provides low cost fitness and sports programs to youth ages 5-15 in high-need areas, our CLASS Parks program provides free vocational, recreational, and adventure based activities to underserved youth ages 11-17, and our SwimLA and Operation Splash programs offer free swim lessons to low income youth ages 7-17 and Operation Splash also offers free junior lifeguard training to low income youth ages 10-17.
At a press conference last summer for the opening of our Kaiser Operation Splash program, Kahlif Carter, 23, shared his inspirational story of how he went from having a fear of deep water at age 5-6, to enrolling in the Operation Splash program at age 10 for free swim lessons, and after taking the beginner swim class three times was able to conquer his fear, and went on to join the swim team, play water polo, and became a junior lifeguard. Today he is an employee of the Department as an open water lifeguard who oversees patron safety at our beach and lake facilities.
A link to the full article: https://community.kp.org/stories/story/low-income-youth-receive-free-swim-lessons-through-operation-splash
Which of the play metrics will your submission impact?
- Access to open space and park facilities
- Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play
- Perceived safety
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- City of Los Angeles
How will your project make LA the best place to play?
In 2018, RAP launched a Community School Parks (CSP) pilot program in coordination with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), which opened four elementary schools in high park-need areas of Los Angeles on weekends. Structured recreation programming was not provided at the inception. RAP rolled out pop-up recreational activities last summer to improve community involvement and to increase interest and participation at the CSP sites. The activities demonstrated a benefit to the community and RAP will be launching a Mobile Recreation Program to expand the successful piloted program. Vehicles will be purchased and stocked with supplies to bring themed activities to these sites. Themed vehicles may include Sports: basketball, volleyball, soccer, archery; Dance/Music/Theatre: dance, sing, or perform a routine; Ecology: learn about plants, animals, and the environment; Arts & Crafts: learn woodworking, sewing, or making things with different materials; Cinema: learn to DJ or create animation; STEM/Robotics: integrate mechanical, electronics, technology, math, and science; or Recreation: recreational play with parachute games, giant jenga, board games, ping pong, jump rope, hopscotch. When launching the new program, there will be marketing efforts with CSP schools and surrounding communities including banners, printed flyers for students, attendance at community meetings and school PTA meetings, and postings on social media and sites such as Nextdoor.
CSP sites are in communities that do not have a park within a 10-minute walk from their home. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey, the total number of children under 18 residing in the zip codes of the four CSP schools is 56,255, with the average ethnicities of the four communities being 55.8% Latino, 21.0% Asian, 11.1% African-American, 10.2% Caucasian, and 1.9% Other.
RAP’s goal is to purchase and stock the first vehicle for this program by summer 2019 utilizing the current CSP budget. The LA2050 grant would assist with funding a second themed vehicle and supplies. These mobile recreation vehicles would rotate among the CSP schools on weekends and school breaks; beginning Fall 2019 they could expand to being utilized for after school programs and future CSP schools, as well as pocket parks that have no recreational programming.
According to the Trust for Public Land, 39% of residents in the City of Los Angeles do not live within a ten minute walk or ½ mile from a park. Los Angeles has disparities in access to quality open space, recreation programs, and facilities, which have been found to disproportionately impact low income communities and communities of color. Opening LAUSD playgrounds on the weekend was the first step to creating access to open spaces in needed communities. Adding a Mobile Recreation Program to the CSP sites will create access to recreational and social activities that will attract children and families to join the fun and stay active.
In what stage of innovation is this project?
Post-pilot (testing an expansion of concept after initially successful pilot)
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
Success for the Mobile Recreation Program will be defined by the increase in attendance and repeat attendance at the current CSP sites, as well as healthy active youth. These benefits will show the CSP programs success which will assist with investors to create green spaces and convince Principals to agree to open up their school yards to the CSP program during non-school days. Success can be measured by comparing attendance at CSP sites currently with days that the Mobile Recreation vehicle is on site. It can also be measured by the addition of new CSP sites due to the success of the Mobile Recreation Program, which will provide more access to open space and recreational activities.
The first priority goal in RAP’s Strategic Plan 2018-2022 is to Provide Safe and Accessible Parks because of the lack of park access, particularly in low-income communities, contributes to disparities in health outcomes throughout the City. This includes a metric to increase access to playgrounds and open space for 200,000 Angelenos living in the highest park-need areas, through the CSP program. Success of the Mobile Recreation Program will encourage additional LAUSD schools to join the CSP program, which will advance RAP’s 10-Minute Walk goals.