South LA schools turn campus playgrounds into public parks

A sign advertises the weekend hours for the Trinity School park. | Joey Wong

A sign advertises the weekend hours for the Trinity School park. View more photos on Flickr. | Joey Wong


As summer hits and schools close down in South L.A., where do the children play?

The area is low on parks, and parents are often too busy working to take kids to parks or other recreation areas. If the children have nowhere to go, they may resort to playing on the street or staying at home with video games.

Two organizations are working to provide another option. People for Parks and Beyond the Bell are partnering with schools to turn the playgrounds into “Community School Parks” open to children on the weekends and throughout summer.

South L.A.’s Trinity Street Elementary School is one campus participating in the program. The playground is supervised by a teacher and a Beyond the Bell representative so that parents don’t need to stand watch.

Play the audio story below to hear sounds and perspectives from the Trinity School ‘park’:

Jessica Ellis, Executive Director for People for Parks, said her organization aims to open a park within walking distance for every child in the city of L.A.

Converting school playgrounds into community parks is not the only way to create more places for children to play in in the city. LA Open Acres is working to turn vacant lots into environments where people can exercise. But the process isn’t as simple as it seems, Ellis said. There are often high costs, and meanwhile, the lots are sometimes in areas polluted with toxic chemicals.

Some of South L.A.’s big parks:

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