"Would you please go outside and play!!" For millions of children around the country, playing outside is woven into life's daily fabric. Whether it's an evening game of hide and seek or an afternoon playing with sand and water, unstructured outdoor play is synonymous with healthy children and healthy communities. But for children in Richmond's gritty Iron Triangle, outdoor play is a forbidden pleasure. Derelict and neglected, the neighborhood's Elm Playlot deters even the most energetic kids.
Founded by a Richmond resident in 2007, Pogo Park transforms lives and communities by working side by side with neighborhood residents to create magical outdoor places to gather and play. Our pilot project is the renovation of the Elm Playlot in Richmond's Iron Triangle. Our approach is to invest in people, first: helping residents to develop the skills and marshal the resources to transform their neighborhoods by working together to revitalize and manage their local parks as community "hubs."
When completed, Elm Playlot will serve as a safe, peaceful and engaging "commons." Surrounded by a beautiful perimeter fence and lighted at night, Elm Playlot will provide a welcoming spot where grannies and abuelos can sit in the sun to watch the kids, and young people can learn to repair bikes or harvest berries from the community garden they will plan and maintain. Under the supervision of neighbors trained and employed as Park Hosts, the playlot will offer a place for community to gather.