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According to a 2012 study done by UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, Lemon Grove experiences the second highest rate of obesity in youth in San Diego County. Providing accessible and affordable opportunities for activation and engagement in sports leagues is vital to the health and wellness of the community.
Since the Lemon Grove Rec Center closed 12 years ago, there has been limited organized sports offerings in the area outside of school. This has created an issue for the supervision of youth outside of school hours as well as a lack of opportunities for healthy and positive organized activities for youth in the area.
Youth in the area have resorted to frequenting the nearby skateparks where there is no adult supervision. This presents a safety issue as well as the youth being exposed to alcohol and drug use that occurs frequently in those skate parks. There is also a concentration of homeless individuals in Lemon Grove in part due to the closure of the rec center and no homeless shelters in the immediate area.
In late 2022, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that homeless individuals may reside in a tent when there is no alternative housing or shelter in the area. This has created a problem in Lemon Grove with the absence of a local homeless shelter in the immediate area. SDSL and NEO hope to address this issue in the immediate surrounding area of the rec center.
NEO’s main focus is on leaving communities better than they found them through collaboration with other organizations like SDSL, community stakeholders, and programming via experiences.
In partnership with SDSL, NEO’s continued focus on Lemon Grove will expand to offering organized weekend youth leagues to the youth of Lemon Grove with the goals of: