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The Serious Business of Play: Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center to Host Symposium on Play

Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center | September 30, 2015

Contact: Tayloe McDonald

40 East Adams Ste. 130

Jacksonville, FL 32202

Phone: 904-598-0901

Fax: 904-598-0902



September 30, 2015-

The Serious Business of Play: Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center to Host Symposium on Play

WHAT: The Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center will release the results of a research initiative focused on learning about where and how children in our community play called, Where do the Children Play? Download the brief here  or the comprehensive report here. Following the briefing, guests will have the opportunity to participate in learning lounges and panel discussions in the following areas, Girls in Sports, Play in Residential Programs and Group Homes, and Safe Places to Play.

WHEN/WHERE: Wednesday, September 30th from 9 am-11am- Where Do the Children Play Briefing (by invitation only) will be held at the Jessie Ball duPont Center A resource fair and play zone (open to the public) will be set up at Hemming Park following the briefing from 11am-12pm. ###

WHY: “We see play as critically important to the healthy emotional, physical and cognitive development of all children.  We were particularly interested in learning how girls experience play.  What we learned is that safety was a major barrier for girls in experiencing play in their communities,” said Dr. Lawanda Ravoira, President and CEO of the Policy Center.


“Friends of Hemming Park is proud to be a pioneer in Jacksonville’s urban play landscape. Responding to the need for a safe place to play in downtown, we started our Kids Zone in the park. We look forward to collaborating with community organizations, such as the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, to partner with and activate the ideas researched around urban play. We hope this symposium will further illustrate how these ideas can be actualized in an urban setting,” said Vince Cavin, Executive Director of Hemming Park.


KEY FINDINGS: While the consensus is that play is advantageous to children’s social-emotional well-being, academic success and physical health, several barriers to play were also identified.  Risk management policies and practices, lack of funding and lack of awareness about the importance of play were identified as barriers to play by service providers. Additional barriers to play cited by families included having limited access to toys and play materials coupled with overuse of technology. Concerns about neighborhood crime, lack of supervision and lack of safe play spaces were echoed by all groups represented.


WHO: Vanessa Patino Lydia, Vice President of Research and Planning at the Policy Center, was the lead researcher on the project and will lead the briefing. Invited guests include thought leaders in the field of child development as well as affordable housing providers and those working with vulnerable youth.  The research initiative was made possible with funding from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. ###

Background: The Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center’s mission is to engage communities, organizations and individuals through quality research, community organizing, advocacy, training and model programming to advance the rights of girls and young women, especially those in the justice and child protection systems. The Policy Center was established with financial support from Delores Barr Weaver of Jacksonville, a lifelong advocate for girls and young women.  To learn more, visit:




40 East Adams, Suite 130
Jacksonville, FL 32202