Press Releases

June 27, 2015

Southeast L.A. Cities Students, Families Celebrate Unveiling of New Toddler Play Space at Hollydale Park


New space is an urgently needed resource for Southeast Cities' kids and families, who suffer from staggering green space deficits and childhood obesity rates among the highest in L.A.

JUNE 27, 2015 -- Southeast L.A. families gathered today to celebrate the unveiling of a new community resource for Southeast Cities toddlers: the transformation of an underused volleyball court into a vibrant and uniquely engraved play space at the Hollydale Park. 

With the help of Southeast Cities ECE Taskforce members Public Counsel and the Southeast-Rio Vista YMCA, 30 local high school students spent 8 months learning how to plan and advocate for expanded and improved green space in their Southeast Cities communities, all of which represent some of the most overbuilt and densely populated cities in the country. These students imagined and designed the beautifully engraved play space, and the project’s implementation is just the latest success of the Southeast Cities ECE Task Force, which aims to increase access to quality early care and education for the thousands of Southeast families in need of these services. 

Community stakeholders including State Senator Ricardo Lara, South Gate Mayor Jorge Morales and Councilmember Maria Belen Bernal, members of the South Gate Youth Commission, directors of South Gate Parks and Recreation, Southeast Cities high school students, Southeast-Rio Vista YMCA, Public Counsel and Southeast Cities community organizations and ECE advocates including Human Services AssociationMexican-American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF),California Children's Academy, Southeast Cities Leadership NetworkFamilies in SchoolsFirst 5 LA, Zero to ThreeLAUP, and WIC California all gathered for the unveiling celebration. 

The Southeast Cities lack adequate outdoor play spaces for toddlers, a problem linked to the staggering rate of childhood obesity in these cities.  Moreover, with 95% of our cognitive development occurring between 0 and 5, inadequate access to active and thought-provoking outdoor play spaces hampers brain development in toddlers. The early learning gaps so prevalent in the Southeast Cities stack the deck against their growing populations.

Meanwhile, it’s a time of tremendous opportunity for the cities of Southeast L.A., as reform-minded new elected leaders are charting a course of growth, accountability and responsive governance, partnering with grassroots community organizations to improve access to services in an area of great need. This new community asset is another step in the right direction to build healthier communities across the Southeast Cities.

About the Southeast Cities ECE Task Force

The Southeast Cities ECE Task Force is a collaborative of early care and education providers, advocates and community organizations including Human Services Association, Mexican-American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF), California Children's Academy, Southeast-Rio Vista YMCA, Southeast Cities Leadership Network, Families in Schools, First 5 LA, Zero to Three, LAUP, WIC California and Public Counsel. The mission of the task force is to expand access and quality of early care and education to the communities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Maywood, and South Gate—areas with the greatest deficit in ECE opportunities in Los Angeles County.