COMPAS for Park Equity: co-powering & mobilizing communities to expand Community School Parks in LA
People for Parks
COMPAS is a movement of parents, neighbors, friends, and staff collectively activating LA’s potential to transform neighborhood schools into community hubs with the power of Community School Parks
What does your organization do?
PFP creates access to safe, vibrant play spaces in underserved LA by 1) unlocking schoolyards on weekends to create Community School Parks, 2) mobilizing communities and 3) advancing joint-use policy.
Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.
PFP is mobilizing for more play in LA. Through digital and grassroots activism, we launched COMPAS, a movement of school staff, parents, neighbors and other stakeholders who commit to 1) cultivating vibrant neighborhood hubs at local CSPs 2) promoting the benefits of CSPs, and 3) advocating for innovative shared use policy. COMPAS centralizes information about these needed hubs and it brings people together around the common goals of play, connection and community building.
Which of the play metrics will your activation impact?
- Access to open space and park facilities
- Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play
- Number of residents with easy access to a “vibrant” park
Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?
- LA is the best place to CONNECT
In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- Central LA
- South LA
How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?
- Advocate for policy
- Digital organizing or activism
- Trainings and/or in-person engagements
- Create new tools or technologies for greater civic/political engagement
- Increase participation in political processes
- Influence individual behavior
- Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities
- Increase donations to organizations and causes
Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to play?
In LA’s most densely populated and socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods, children and their families do not have access to safe parks and plays spaces that are critical to leading healthy lives and building stronger communities.
PFP focuses on tackling park inequity through our Community School Parks program (CSPs), which opens school playgrounds to the public on Saturdays and provides youth and adult enrichment programming in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
CSP-goers experience the benefits of increased park access and play spaces with improvements in overall health, physical fitness, obesity rates, nutrition, academics, crime, and social connectedness neighborhood-wide.
In order to expand these kinds of positive results and bring about systems change that advances park equity, PFP will mobilize community members and activate Angelenos to help make LA the best place PLAY. We will do so in the following ways:
1) Operate three CSPs in dense,under-resourced LA neighborhoods, giving thousands of residents easy access to vibrant parks
2) Foster residents’ sense of ownership of CSPs through our community engagement program, COMPAS
3) Mobilize COMPAS members to advocate for shared-use policies
4) Educate and engage decision-makers to advance shared-use policies
COMPAS is a field-based community-organizing program and a movement of parents and neighbors with two shared goals:
Supporting recreation hubs that are safe, welcoming, and responsive to each neighborhood’s unique interests, and
Opening Community School Parks at every school in LA
Through COMPAS, parents, neighbors, and friends come together to build relationships, assess recreation needs, create action plans, build skills, volunteer, and receive recognition for CSP related contributions and innovations.
To complement PFP’s in-person relationship-building work, COMPAS will use digital activism to bring together Angelenos from different neighborhoods so that they can build a strong, collective voice supporting CSP expansion. As community members learn about the benefits of CSPs, they will become advocates for play, and galvanize their communities to move decision-makers towards city-wide shared-use policies.
With LA2050’s support, PFP’s COMPAS will:
Activate 300 hundred parents per school at existing CSPs to become parent volunteers and vocal supporters of CSPs and shared-use
Activate 5,000 neighbors per school at existing CSP sites to build awareness of CSPs and shared-use.
Activate parents to recruit and engage their community members through COMPAS, with a goal to register supporters at 20 schools (total potentially activated: 100,000)
Advocate for LAUSD to authorize low-cost or no-cost shared-use options so that communities across LA can access school playgrounds during non-school hours.
Through COMPAS we will activate parents’ & neighbors’ civic power to advance shared-use policies that can improve parks equity in LA.
How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to play
We will engage:
1) Parents, principals, teachers, neighbors, friends at existing CSPs, and community members living in dense regions of LA who wish to open CSPs. All CSPs are at Title I schools, where average park acreage per 1,000 people is .09 (LA’s average is 4.2).
2) LA supporters of expanded park access through CSPs and shared use.
Our strategy includes in-person engagement at neighborhood and parent resource centers to present COMPAS and install “COMPAS Point Stations” where visitors can learn more about CSPs/shared use, become COMPAS members, and sign up as volunteers.
COMPAS’s interactive online ‘parents’ portal’ is easily accessed on desktop and mobile devices. Portal visitors can:
Register as COMPAS members & movement supporters
Register to become CSP parent volunteers in ongoing activities, special events and shared use advocacy
Recruit other advocates
Register for public events to support shared use (e.g. school board, city & neighborhood council meetings)
Publicize community events
Share challenges, best practices
Connect to PFP/COMPAS social media to post photos/videos, stories & goals for neighborhood.
Parents without access to the internet can text a keyword to sign up. This lowers barriers to entry and enables us to collect and organize participant information so that we can recruit, communicate updates and elevate emerging and existing leaders in their communities. The portal is supported by the digital community platform, NationBuilder.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.
In collaboration with LA County’s Dept. of Public Health and digital community platform, NationBuilder, PFP will evaluate quantitative and qualitative outcomes related to the following objectives:
For 300 COMPAS members to become active parent volunteers at CSPs: NationBuilder tracks the number of registrants and the progress and frequency of those registrants’ volunteer activities.
For 100,000 Angelenos connect through COMPAS: NationBuilder tracks COMPAS online registration.
To expand community use of existing CSPs: We will use geographic mapping and demographic data to understand how many and what types of people we are creating access for (eg, age groups, income) and systematic observation and tracking tools to measure how many and what types of people use CSPs and to understand barriers and facilitators to parks access, resources we can provide, and needed changes in community capacity. We aim to serve 500 parkgoers per month/per park and 500+ for special events. Outreach and park attendance data will be linked to understand what activities increase park use.
For coalition building & shared use advocacy: Using digital tracking and interviews, we will measure progress along this measure through frequency of communication with key community partners and policy makers as well as COMPAS member visits to public forums such as Neighborhood Council and School Board meetings to voice support for shared use. Conduct semi-annual review of shared use provider agreements.
Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?
CSP Sustainability and Expansion - for CSPs to exist at every public school in Los Angeles; for parents and neighbors to have taken ownership over CSPs to define and achieve place-specific goals and to have secured long-term support for CSPs through advocacy and collaboration with LAUSD and other government and community groups; for “Community School Park” to be a household name.
Shared Use Expansion - for major stakeholders, including LAUSD, LA City and related departments, the LAPD and LA county to have partnered with the common goal of providing safe open spaces across LA that create access to health and wellness amenities in high-need communities; for this collaboration to have resulted in an innovative municipal park system that incorporates CSPs into its service model, permitting public access to school playgrounds.
Community Health and Development — for CSPs to serve as vibrant neighborhood hubs, spaces that neighbors consider safe, welcoming, interesting and their own; for populations surrounding CSPs to experience overall physical and emotional wellness, neighborhood connectedness and park equity through regular visits to CSPs and participation and leadership in CSP activities.
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