NPLD Event Spotlight: Multicultural and Bilingual LA NPLD Event Encourages Young Soccer Players to Care for their Home Fields

On September 30, youth soccer players from Northeast Los Angeles will give back to the park they spend so much time enjoying when The City Project joins Anahuak Youth Sports Association and others to host a National Public Lands Day celebration in Río de Los Angeles State Park. For the second year running, The City Project and Anahuak are teaming up for the simple joys of playing in the park, educational workshops, and other fun and healthy activities. Local youth, their families, friends, and other volunteers will clean up the 40-acre park and enjoy a variety of educational workshops and other fun activities.

“National Public Lands Day gives young people an opportunity to take ownership of caring for the park they use for soccer and other recreation,” says Tim Mok of The City Project, explaining that the day closely aligns to the group’s goal of promoting equal access to parks and greenspaces for communities of color and low income communities. “It’s a great way to engage the local community in healthy play while caring for the land.”

Volunteers at The City Project NPLD Event in LA

The event will feature materials and presentations in Spanish and in English—a unique aspect that Mok says helps people feel they belong in parks, and the parks belong to them. Planned educational workshops include an art station and an opportunity for young people to reflect on how they feel about parks and why they are important. They’ll also enjoy a comic book from Take Action Comics that tells the story of how the community won the struggle to create the park and Sonia Sotomayor middle and high schools, and stop a big box project on the site. New this year, the National Park Service, an NPLD federal partner, will bring its LA Ranger Troca to the event. This mobile visitor center for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area aims to make parks and recreation more accessible to the people and encourage the community to stay active. The travelling park exhibit offers Frisbees, hoola hoops, basketballs, and even an obstacle course. Visitors can also use microscopes to inspect smaller parts of nature, grab a pair of binoculars to study area birds, or play the scat game to test their knowledge of urban wildlife.

“Anahuak is not about building good soccer players, but about building good citizens,” say Anahuak founder Raul Macias, explaining how being part of National Public Lands Day supports the group’s mission.

Anahuak Volunteers at The City Project NPLD Event in LA

After attracting more than 75 youth players, parents, siblings, and volunteer coaches last year—NEEF’s first bilingual and multicultural National Public Lands Day event—organizers are aiming for at least 100 volunteers for National Public Lands Day 2017.

There will be lunch, a presentation honoring of members of the Anahuak family who are immigrants and dreamers, an awards ceremony for volunteers, and a CA State Parks ranger talk, among other activities planned for the day. Learn more about The City Project here.

Group picture of the volunteers at The City Project NPLD Event in LA