City to host “play day” Sept. 24 during KidsCare Fest at Briercrest Park
September 8, 2011 (La Mesa)--For the fourth year in a row La Mesa has earned recognition from the national non-profit KaBOOM! as a 2011 Playful City USA community for its efforts to increase play opportunities for children.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is important to healthy brain development and allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Only one in five, or 20%, of US children live within walking distance of a park or playground.
This means today’s children spend less time playing outside than any previous generation and this play deficit is having profound consequences for kids physically as well as mentally and socially because children need a place to play every day in order to be active and healthy.
“Making play a priority in La Mesa is just one of the elements of our ‘ready…set…Live Well’ community wellness initiative,” states Yvonne Garrett, Assistant City Manager, “creating vibrant and inviting play spaces is one of the ways we can increase children’s physical activity and begin to fight the alarming increase in childhood obesity that we, as a nation, are experiencing.”
The City of La Mesa earned the Playful City USA designation due, in part, to a strategic partnership with the local non-profit La Mesa Park and Recreation Foundation (LMP&RF). The LMP&RF is currently engaged in “It’s Child’s Play,” a capital campaign to raise funds to renovate five playgrounds in La Mesa parks.
“We completed our first renovated playground at Jackson Park last November and design plans are underway for our second playground anticipated to be completed in spring next year at Northmont Park,” reported Michele Tarbet, Board President of LMP&RF. As part of the partnership agreement with LMP&RF to improve park facilities, the City constructed a new restroom facility, upgraded park lighting, and improved sidewalk access to the playground site at Jackson Park. “We are more than halfway to our funding goal for It’s Child’s Play, and we look forward to even more community support for this vital project as a result of our Playful City USA award. Play is not a luxury;” said Tarbet, who in addition to her role as Board President, is CEO of Sharp Grossmont Hospital “play is a necessity for our children.”
The City of La Mesa plans to celebrate its 2011 Playful City USA designation with a “play day” at the annual KIDS CARE FEST on September 24. KIDS CARE FEST, conducted in partnership with Grossmont Healthcare District and LMP&RF, is a fun day of hands on play activities, safety displays, and health information where kids can just be kids. The event runs from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at Briercrest Park, 9001 Wakarusa Street in La Mesa. Find additional information at http://www.cityoflamesa.com/DocumentView.aspx?DID=138 or www.kidscarefest.org