Seattle voters approved the Seattle Park District in 2014, and among its initiatives is Get Moving, which in 2016 is funding partnerships with community-based programs that fight obesity and encourage exercise and active lifestyles. At Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) we support healthy people, healthy environments, and strong communities, with a special focus on ensuring access to our neediest and historically under-represented residents.
Today in King County, 56% of adults and 21% of middle- and high-school students are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity rates in America have tripled during the last three decades. Today, almost one in every three children is overweight or obese. Everyone in our community has a role to play in reducing obesity, including parents, elected officials, schools, health-care professionals, faith- and community-based organizations, and private sector companies.
The Get Moving initiative allows SPR to work with outside organizations and provide innovative “Get Moving” opportunities to targeted communities. Parks often has the opportunity to partner with outside organizations to reach a new target population or to serve a community better. However, the success of these partnerships is often constrained because Parks did not have the resources to leverage community and outside organization involvement. This initiative provides the necessary funding. As our city continues to evolve and diversify, these resources will help Parks stay relevant to the entire community. This proposal creates a full-time Recreation Program Coordinator position to manage the fund and collaborate with outside organizations to offer events and programs to get Seattle moving.
For 2016, our Get Moving partnerships focus on people from communities of color, immigrant communities, people with disabilities and folks from our LGBTQ community, especially youth and seniors, in communities where people are disproportionately affected by health disparities. Get Moving grants are going to local nonprofits, small businesses and community groups who offer innovative and culturally relevant events and projects designed to get people involved in community sports, active recreation and physical fitness activities. Our goal is to reach 1,000 new participants this year.
We reached out widely in target communities and awarded grants to 14 projects from among 48 applications. Funded initiatives include: an intergenerational program focusing on African-American fathers and sons, a training program by a Latino leadership development group to help youth become coaches, a cultural dance program by the an organization that supports the Lao community, especially youth, with scholarships and activities that preserve the culture; and African Diaspora dance classes by an organization that invests in young women of color as future leaders through mentoring and programs that equip them with confidence and resiliency.