CLASS Parks

TEEN PROGRAM

About CLASS Parks

"CLASS Parks...
connecting youth with their communities."

CLASS Parks is an international, national, state, and local award winning division of the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department. Our continuing mission, as a community youth development program, is to build strong resilient youth who have a healthy vision of their future.

As a leader in energizing local community youth development efforts, CLASS Parks mobilizes staff, allocates resources, and, by working with public and private organizations, coordinates, improves, and avoids duplication of City sponsored youth programs and services.

The CLASS Parks Program is based on a youth development model that is founded on addressing teen problems, including isolation, substance abuse, educational failures, gang involvement, and criminal activity, as symptoms of a crumbling youth development infrastructure.

The CLASS Parks Program operates 36 youth development sites within the City’s 175 Recreation Centers. These selected Recreation Centers provide safe, supervised after school and weekend enrichment, as well as educational, vocational, recreational, and adventure-based programs for youth 11 to 17 years of age.

HOW WE BEGAN

In the fall of 2000, City officials determined that a major contributing factor to the problems of some of their communities was depressed neighborhood morale, which was due in part to the lack of a safe central gathering place where positive community activity could be fostered.

In November of that same year, officials launched a new program aptly named CLASS (Clean and Safe Spaces) Parks, a revolutionary division of the Department of Recreation and Parks. CLASS Parks’ challenge was clear: breathe new life into parks and communities, thereby sparking a renewal of the pride and vitality once celebrated. In this way, the spirit of an entire neighborhood could be dramatically lifted.

The brand-new CLASS Parks Program was granted $8.6 million to begin the renewal of 37 parks in selected communities. The plan was to transform troubled neighborhood Recreation Centers into clean and vibrant local community resources equipped with new playgrounds, additional staffing, and expanded programming, particularly for young teens.

After deliberation, 37 original facilities were selected on the basis of low economic status, facility degeneration, and the perception of crime and other problems.]]>