Cities and Children First
The City of St. Louis Park has found ways to creatively incorporate asset building into its everyday activities.
Early on the City Council adopted a resolution supporting the initiative. The city staff and residents have figured out ways to make asset building a community priority.
Examples of what the city has done
- Young people serve on city boards and commissions including Human Rights, Parks & Recreation, Police Advisory and Technology.
- Police officers started a pick-up basketball league in a local park to get to know neighborhood kids.
- The remodeled Rec Center is dedicated to asset building principles and was designed to encourage intergenerational interaction. It has an outdoor pool with a zero-depth (beach like) entry, a sand play area, water slides and water features, and two ice rinks.
- When a new or remodeled playground is being planned residents including youth who live near the park give input and vote on the structure to be put at the site.
- The Public Works Department responded to the concern of a citizen who saw children sledding near a busy street. They graded the snow on the hill until in the spring a planned city monument sign with plantings was slated to be installed.
- Through the summer parks program, junior high students can volunteer as junior playground leaders.
- The city is organized into 35 neighborhoods and has a community liaison who provides assistance to neighborhood organizers.
Examples of what neighborhoods are doing
- Neighborhood Olympics was held in one neighborhood. Events included a bike race and the long jump (in a sandbox). Older youth helped younger children at the Olympics.
- A neighborhood newsletter has a page that is for and by kids.
- At one neighborhood’s potluck, neighbors received a piece of sidewalk chalk and were encouraged to write a message to a young person.
- Teenagers did fall raking for their elderly neighbors. The older people offered refreshments and visited with the young workers.
- Students are invited to help in the planning of neighborhood parties. One 11-year-old took the lead in planning games for a National Night Out block party.
- Neighborhoods are hosting outside movies, game board nights and hayrides, all as a way to get to know each other and make theirs a safe, caring neighborhood for children.