People of all ages and in all neighborhoods, want places where they can be active. However, many neighborhoods, especially those located in low-income areas, don’t have parks, community centers or other places where residents can safely be active.
Even though recreational facilities are often not evenly distributed across a city, especially across low-income and communities of color, schools generally are. School facilities can be an excellent resource within neighborhoods because they often offer safe play spaces that already exist, are known to the people who live nearby, and are well-equipped for activity.
Many schools are willing to open their doors and gates after hours, offering “shared use” of playgrounds, fields, running tracks, pools, gymnasiums, fitness rooms, and other spaces. Maximizing shared use of school facilities after school hours and offering activities can address both students’ and the community’s needs for recreational activity spaces.
Research shows that people who have parks or recreational facilities nearby exercise 38 percent more than those who do not have easy access.
In order to ensure that more people have access to places to be active, we need to unlock the doors™.