Seattle Parks and Recreation is committed to utilizing Seattle’s parks and community centers to promote and sustain racial equity in our city. At Seattle Parks and Recreation, we know that access to outdoor space and community center activities are vital ways to keep communities healthy, strong, and supported. Yet in our city we know that these resources are not distributed equally to all Seattle residents. With an increasingly diverse Seattle, we work to make sure our programs and services are available to everyone by focusing on the following:
Investing in Youth of Color:
- SPR Community Learning Centers combat summer learning loss with 5+ week summer academic and enrichment programming for students who are at risk of falling behind or failing courses, many of whom are students of color. In 2016, the program served more than 900 students with all students meeting their academic performance goals.
- Our Summer Food and Expanded Recreation Program offers free lunches and free drop-in activities to youth during the summer months. Programming helps ensure that vulnerable youth have access to healthy meals during the summer. In 2016, together with the United Way, we served over 40,000 meals at over 20 sites across the city.
- Our Trails Program engages youth of color through the public schools’ service learning program in maintaining and restoring Seattle’s park trails.
- O2, the Outdoor Opportunities program, is an outdoor expedition program designed to expose youth of color (ages 14-19) to environmental education, urban conservation, and stewardship.
- SPR partners to annually put on the teen summer musical. This year, 88 young people enjoyed a nine-week theatrical journey full acting, song, dance and discovery through this program which is geared toward youth of color.
Reducing barriers to access:
- SPR wants all of Seattle’s residents to have access to recreation, and provides Scholarships to individuals and families for our programs and activities. We have processed 5,167 scholarships for the June 2016-June 2017 cycle.
- Beginning January 2017, we have eliminated fees for most drop-in activities, including Tot Gyms, Fitness Rooms, Basketball, and many others.
- We are extending hours at community centers in underserved neighborhoods to see how we can reduce barriers to utilizing our facilities and services. Community centers with expanded hours include International District/Chinatown, Magnuson, Miller, South Park, Yesler and Van Asselt community centers.
Culturally relevant programming:
- Our Food and Fitness program, funded in part by the Seattle Park District, provides opportunities for older adults to congregate and celebrate their culture and language through weekly gatherings that include a communal lunch and a social, educational and fitness component. We currently offer an East African and a Vietnamese meetup.
- We offer Women’s Single Gender Swims at three of our eight indoor pools for women who, for cultural, personal or religious reasons, choose not to swim in a co-ed environment.
- SPR’s Get Moving and Recreation for All programs fund culturally relevant physical and enrichment programming to under resourced communities and in neighborhoods where health disparities are prevalent.