Tell PTA: Get Schools to Share Playgrounds!

School is back!

But when classes end, does your school lock up its recreational facilities?

Many Latino families live near schools that lock fields, courts, pools, and playgrounds before and after class--meaning kids miss physical, mental, and emotional benefits of physical activity and play.

Tell your State PTA to get schools to open school rec facilities after class with "Shared Use" or "Open Use" policies!

Open or shared use policies can serve as a beacon of good health for local residents, boost community safety, and increase children's opportunities for physical activity, which is scientifically proven to reduce disease risk and contribute to physical, mental, and social well-being.

Open use policies allow a school to formally grant public access to its recreational facilities. A shared use agreement is a contract between a school and another group that allows sharing of school facilities for the public or groups after hours. For example, in Earlimart, Calif., school and county leaders developed a shared use policy for existing schoolyards for public use.

The future of Latino and all children and their physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being depends on accessible opportunities for physical activity.

Urge your State PTA to issue a memo to its entire network urging them to push for local "shared use" and "open use" policies in schools across the country!
Dear State PTA Association,

In the midst of a national childhood epidemic, I believe it's vital to help Latino and all children and families have better opportunities to get physical activity they need for physiological, emotional, and behavioral development.

Schools play a huge role in this effort--even when class is not in session.

But many schools lock up their gyms, courts, pools, fields, tracks, and playgrounds before and after class and on weekends, removing critical places to play, especially in Latino neighborhoods that tend to lack safe, accessible public spaces for physical activity, which are critical for a whole-child approach to physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

I strongly urge you to issue a memo to each PTA in your state urging them to seek a "shared use agreement" and/or "open use policy" that can increase access to active spaces in Latino and all communities. These formal policies can pave way for schools to unlock their facilities after class and on weekends, creating new nearby venues for physical activity for kids and families.

[your comment here]

Please urge local PTAs to push hard for shared and/or open use of schools.

It's a signal from you that preventing childhood obesity and mental and physical health problems is important, and that you value the overall health and wellbeing of this and future generations.

[Your name]
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