2017 has been a busy year for all of us at Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR)! We’ve been working in every corner of the city to maintain our 485 parks and 27 community centers, restore our urban forest, build new parks and play areas, meet with community members to hear public input and plan for the future, and provide hundreds of programs, summer camps, swim lessons, and much more. Read on to learn about some of our 2017 accomplishments supporting healthy people. Click the following links to see how we are also supporting a healthy environment and strong communities.
Preserving open spaces and natural areas where residents can enjoy healthy activities like walking, hiking, rowing, and tennis is how we help people make connections to each other and experience the health benefits—both physical and mental—of time spent outdoors. We believe that just getting people moving is the first step to a healthy lifestyle. And our community sports, recreation programs, and physical fitness activities—from akido to Zumba and everything in between—help keep Seattle residents moving and healthy.
Seattle’s 27 community centers are the backbone of our parks and recreation system. In addition to enabling health, recreation, and fitness, they serve as anchors of many of our neighborhoods and support a healthy environment and strong communities. In 2017, we helped increase access and promote social equity by increasing hours at ten community centers in underserved neighborhoods and making most of our drop-in activities free. We are proud to report that we are on track to meet our annual goal of 3,750,000 community center visits and that 91% of surveyed SPR program participants reported high satisfaction.
We provided $400,000 in scholarships to low-income community members to attend SPR programs and activities, including camps and before-and-after school care. Scholarships are based on income and family size, and are available to anyone who qualifies, including seniors and people with disabilities. Kristeena Garcia, a scholarship recipient, recently shared how scholarships help support her family:
“Raising my two boys hasn’t always been easy. I’ve been a single mom for the past 2 years, and despite my wonderful family nearby, I can’t always impose on them for help. Emotionally and financially, it’s often stressful. That’s where the Delridge Community Center has made a big impact on me and my family. Thanks to Seattle Parks and Recreation’s scholarship fund, which is supported by the voter-approved Seattle Park District and supplemented by individual donations, I have been able to pay for programs and activities, and my sons are in a safe, fun, caring place every day after school while I’m at work. I’m so grateful to be a recipient of those scholarship funds.”
This year, the Amy Yee Tennis Center offered free play on Fridays to participants in our Teen Late Night program, a recreation-based program with a focus on positive teen interactions and engagement where all teens are welcomed. Amy Yee staff also offered free summer youth tennis lessons throughout Seattle, as well as a free ‘QuickStart’ league to middle school beginners at nine locations across Seattle. QuickStart is an introductory program designed to get youth playing tennis quickly.