LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation (LA County Parks) and 20 cities are joining together to launch a movement to get kids playing outdoors with Every Body Plays, a program that provides free access to a variety of recreational programming and equipment such as balls, jump ropes, athletic equipment and games while visiting their local parks. Youth can check out sports equipment free while visiting their local park Tuesdays through Saturdays from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., starting April 1, 2021.

As schools reopen in April, Every Body Plays offers support for families by providing a free, safe place where youth can drop in after school for recreation. Fifty-five LA County Parks locations and parks in 20 cities countywide will give access to caring recreation staff and serve as natural, outdoor places to help communities heal by connecting youth with their peers in a safe environment.

“Through Every Body Plays, we are creating a movement to help our youth come back out to our parks safely to play, connect and enjoy the healing power of nature,” said Norma E. García-González, Director, Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation. “Many youth have been isolated and socially disconnected for over one year. Now more than ever, we welcome back our youth and families with free, dynamic Spring programs at parks across Los Angeles County.”

There is no pre-registration required for Every Body Plays. To participate, youth must present a house key, school ID, or other forms of identification to rent equipment. Equipment that can be checked out will be based on the amenities each specific facility has to offer. Equipment may include: Tennis racquets and balls, basketballs, soccer balls, carom tables, games, hula hoops and jump ropes.

In addition to access to open spaces and sports equipment, youth are encouraged to connect with LA County Parks staff who will be onsite at each location to assist however possible. COVID-19 health guidelines including face coverings and physical distancing, must be adhered to while visiting parks.

LA County Parks and select city parks will also provide free nutritional snacks include fruit, vegetables, dairy products, juice and water, to youth ages 18 and under. Created to help reduce the growing percentage of young people in the United States challenged by obesity or lack of consistent access to wholesome meals, the free snack program aims to provide a healthy alternative for kids and their families.

Every summer, LA County Parks provides about 300,000 free snacks and lunches to communities in need. In order for participating parks to qualify for the program, they must service areas within the geographical boundaries of elementary, middle, or high school attendance areas with at least 50% of its students eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. LA County Parks provides the free lunch and snack program in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture, the California Department of Education and the Department of Public Health.

Every Body Plays and the free snack programs are overseen by recreational staff and trained interns from the Youth@Work program, which provides seasonal job opportunities for youth and young adults, ages 14 to 24. Empowering the next generation to make a difference with training, teamwork and mentorship. Youth@Work recruited 300 youth from across the county and linked them to a job opportunity that will provide most with their first work experience and help LA County Parks provide much-needed services to local neighborhoods by delivering Spring programming.

Youth@Work is made possible with the support of several organizations and funding partner Workforce Development Aging & Community Services (WDACS), which has previously funded LA County Parks youth programming through Parks After Dark.

The Every Body Plays program starts on April 1. Scheduled days and times vary by park. For more information, please visit parks.lacounty.gov/everybodyplays.

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