179030 Oakland schoolyard initiative pilot project: Engaging community, school, and city stakeholders in the San Antonio neighborhood of Oakland to improve physical activity environments on school campuses and on park grounds

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 12:45 PM

Katherine Melcher , Urban Ecoloby, MLA, San Francisco, CA
Tamiko Johnson, MPH, MSW , Alameda County Public Health Department, Oakland, CA
David Kakishiba , East Bay Asian Youth Center, Oakland, CA
Donald Neuwirth, MCP , Executive Director, Urban Ecology, San Francisco, CA
Every child needs a safe space to play, learn, and grow. Schoolyards and adjacent city parks are the best candidates to be that vital space. Sadly, deferred maintenance, deteriorated structures, and the dearth of recreational programming have made many of these facilities unsuitable for in-school and after-school play. While the values of exercise and play are well established by many studies, the ability of children in high crime areas to be outside is compromised by “stranger danger” and violence. Safety is an essential part of the effort to reduce childhood obesity.

The Oakland Schoolyards Initiative (OSI) is a public-private partnership that seeks to revitalize and transform 50 schoolyards, over the next ten years, into safe and vibrant places for youth to play, learn, and have fun. This requires coordinating and leveraging public, philanthropic, and community resources to design and renovate schoolyards; establishing recreational programming at schoolyards; and ensuring on-going maintenance and safety of the schoolyards.

OSI implementation processes and progress in three pilot sites in the San Antonio neighborhood will be discussed including:

* The process of identifying the first five schoolyards targeted for OSI revitalization.

* The participatory process that produced comprehensive site-specific schoolyard improvement plans, including physical design, recreational programming, security, and maintenance.

* The process of establishing agreements regarding joint-use/community-use.

OSI will foster the institutional changes needed to coordinate various agencies' efforts to physically improve and better manage scarce outdoor recreational resources in emerging communities. This effort can be replicated in other cities.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to identify and engage stakeholders to plan a school-city partnership in improving schoolyards and adjacent parks to improve physical activity opportunities for students and community members. 2. Participants will be able to articulate the potential opportunities and challenges that community-based organizations, school districts, and cities may have in implementing a program involving multiple agencies and jurisdictions. 3. Participants will be able to list methods of and a timeline for engaging community members (students, parents, school site-staff, and community stakeholders) in obtaining input on the design of schoolyards and adjacent park areas. 4. Identify how community engagement in the planning process links to increases in safety and increased opportunities to for physical activity.

Keywords: Community Collaboration, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked for the past two years on the Oakland Schoolyard Initiative.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.