Parks After Dark (PAD), a multi-agency partnership led by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, returns with a full slate of free nighttime programming designed to provide young people and their families with healthy, safe and fun recreational opportunities.
The extended park hours and special activities — which have been hallmarks of the award-winning, widely-acclaimed L.A. County initiative — are designed to facilitate new and positive experiences for young people while helping them avoid at-risk behaviors that have traditionally been considered leading factors in increased crime rates during the summer months. As part of the programming at six carefully-selected parks, residents of all ages are provided with free activities that include organized sports, concerts and movies, classes on cooking and performing arts, golf and soccer lessons, public health outreach, and health and social service resource fairs and much more.
Activities vary by location. In 2015, PAD is being hosted at the following parks on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights:
Thursday June 11 through Saturday August 8:
Thursday July 10 through Saturday August 15
Parks After Dark at Ted Watkins Memorial Park, Franklin D. Roosevelt Park and Jesse Owens Community Regional Park will be from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.; City Terrace Park’s hours will be from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Saturdays; Pamela County Park’s hours will be from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturdays; Loma Alta Park’s hours will be from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
PAD, now entering its sixth season, has proven to be a potent tool in the county’s mission to improve quality-of-life, said a spokesperson for the organization. Last fall, a report published by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health affirmed the dramatic effectiveness of the program. “Parks After Dark: Preventing Violence While Promoting Healthy, Active Living” details how the program has increased participation in physical activity, improved access to services, promoted community building and decreased violence. Among the findings: Serious and violent crimes in the communities surrounding the original three PAD parks declined 32% during the summer months between 2009 and 2013; at the same time, serious and violent crimes increased 18% in nearby communities with parks that did not have the PAD program. The entire report can be viewed on the Department of Public Health website at http://1.usa.gov/1su9JQb.
Along with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, a number of partnering County agencies make tremendous contributions to PAD, including: Chief Executive Office; Sheriff, Probation, Public Library, Public Health, Community and Senior Services, Human Relations Commission, Public Defender, District Attorney and Arts Commission.
“There’s a reason that parks play such a central role in quality-of-life for our communities: They are beautiful places where people enjoy healthy recreation, and where families can find safe harbor,” said Russ Guiney, Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation. “PAD is an incredible opportunity for us to give even more to the communities we serve. While it is a summertime program, it is also a reminder to people that these facilities and open spaces are available for their enjoyment and enrichment throughout the year.”