Safe Places to Play

by Together Counts Partner | October 11, 2016 at 9:47 am | comments

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In partnership with Together Counts™, we are excited to share resources about healthy, active living as well as the importance of safe playing spaces. Not only do safe spaces provide kids with an environment where they can participate in physical activity and exercise, but it brings families and communities together.

The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Safe Places to Play program gives kids safe and accessible areas to play by funding field-building and enhancement projects in underserved communities. The Foundation awards grants three times a year to underserved communities to help cover the costs of design, construction, surfacing and enhancement.

The program transforms abandoned courts, empty schoolyards, small vacant lots and the like into state-of-the-art soccer fields for kids. Creating new play spaces provides children with the opportunity to be more active and engage in programming that teaches them life skills. The Foundation’s sports-based youth development program, Soccer for Success, is one of the programs that is run on these play spaces. This evidence-based program is proven to improve the health and youth development outcomes of the kids it serves. As a result of the kids being active on the play space, their families can join in on the fun and engage in physical activity, which helps kids and families live active and healthy lives.

safe-soccer-2In addition to bringing kids and families together, these safe playing spaces can serve as hubs for wraparound services. Local organizations can work together and utilize the play space to hold community events, such as farmers markets and mobile health screenings. These events provide families with the opportunity to live a healthier life.

Safe Places to Play has impacted the lives of students on, and off, the field. Principal Natalie from Washington, DC said, “Due to your generosity, our students will spend countless hours before, during and after school playing soccer, developing their skills for the game and overall improving their health and fitness.”

Kids leading active and healthy lifestyles is important to us at the U.S. Soccer Foundation and Together Counts. That’s why the Foundation tries to build and enhance as many communities as possible. To date, we have helped build or enhance over 1,100 Safe Places to Play across the country.

Interested in getting a safe place to play in your community? Visit http://ussoccerfoundation.org/programs/safe-places-to-play to learn more, and don’t forget to check out Together Counts’ helpful resources on http://www.togethercounts.com/!

The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s programs are the national model for sports-based youth development in underserved communities. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has established programs proven to help children embrace an active and healthy lifestyle while nurturing their personal growth beyond sports. Its cost-effective, high-impact initiatives offer safe environments where kids and communities thrive. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, visit http://www.ussoccerfoundation.org/or follow us on Twitter at @ussoccerfndn and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ussoccerfoundation.

For more ideas about how to promote healthy and active living in your everyday life, take a look and these other articles from Together Counts!