With the days growing longer and evenings getting warmer, the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, in partnership with the Department of Public Health, will kick off the enormously popular Parks After Dark (PAD) program at six Los Angeles County parks on June 20, 2013.
With a focus on youth and families, PAD will offer surrounding communities extended park hours and activities on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. through August 17. Activities offered throughout the summer will include organized sports, classes on such subjects as acting and film, free concerts and movies, and resource fairs for residents of all ages.
By providing youth and families with positive recreational activities in their communities, the initiative plays an important part in reducing the likelihood of participation in at-risk behaviors. Initially implemented in three parks as a component of the County’s Gang Violence Reduction Initiative, the program transforms areas that have been adversely affected by gang activity into vibrant community centers that provide health and other resources in locations where residents can feel safe and secure.
PAD has been highly successful during its first three summers, resulting in decreased violent crime and high community participation. Between 2010 and 2012, there were more than 120,000 visits to the PAD parks. A 2012 survey of participants found that 94% would participate in the program again, and 96% felt safe during the program. Serious and violent crimes in the communities surrounding the original three parks declined 40% during the summer months between 2009 and 2012, compared to a 5% increase in serious and violent crime during this period in nearby communities with parks that did not receive the PAD program.
“Our department’s motto is ‘Parks Make Life Better!’ and Parks After Dark is a wonderful example of the important role that parks play as a safe, unifying hub in our communities,” said Russ Guiney, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation. “This program is an amazing opportunity for the communities surrounding PAD parks to take full advantage of resources that are available to them. It also provides us with a great way to showcase these parks to the people we serve — and demonstrate that, while PAD is here for the summer, these facilities and open spaces are available for their enjoyment and enrichment all year long.”
With support from the LA84 Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Parks and Recreation is partnering with the Department of Public Health’s Choose Health LA initiative at these six parks:
Ted Watkins Memorial Park, 1335 E. 103rd St., LA 90002
City Terrace Park, 1126 N. Hazard Ave., LA 90063
Jesse Owens Community Regional Park, 9651 S. Western Ave., LA 90047
Pamela County Park, 2236 Goodall Ave., Duarte 91010
Franklin D. Roosevelt Park, 7600 Graham Ave., LA 90001
Loma Alta Park 3330 N. Lincoln Ave., Altadena 91001
“A safe and welcoming environment is often the biggest barrier for LA County residents to get the daily recommended level of physical activity,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. “Through this program, parks provide local youth and families with a variety of recreational opportunities, health outreach, and social services. Parks After Dark is an opportunity to get active, move more, and have fun with friends and family while maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle.”
PAD is made possible through a partnership among the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Public Health, Choose Health LA, LA84 Foundation, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office, several other community partners and the following Los Angeles County agencies: Probation, Public Library, Department of Community and Senior Services, Human Relations Commission, Public Defender’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office. The City of Pasadena Department of Parks and Recreation has also partnered with Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation to add PAD to Pasadena parks located near Loma Alta Park.
About the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation
The Department provides the residents and visitors of Los Angeles County with quality recreational opportunities that promote a healthy lifestyle and strengthen the community through diverse physical, educational and cultural programming. The Department also enhances the community environment by acquiring, developing and maintaining more than 174 County parks, gardens, golf courses, trails and open space areas. Parks Make Life Better! Follow the department on Twitter at http://twitter.com.lacountyparks on Facebook at http://facebook.com/parks.lacounty.gov and on the web at http://parks.lacounty.gov.
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