Every day, in communities across the country, park and recreation professionals make the places where people live, learn, work and play healthier and happier. These professionals serve as stewards of Community Wellness Hubs — trusted gathering places that connect every member of the community to essential programs, services and spaces that advance health equity, improve health outcomes and enhance quality of life.
To address today’s public health and social challenges and achieve health equity, we are committed to leveraging the full power of parks and recreation to ensure all people have access to high-quality, inclusive and holistic programs, services and spaces across seven dimensions of well-being. To catalyze this vision, NRPA provides professionals with the information, tools and resources they need to create communities where all can thrive.
Community Wellness Hubs – A Toolkit for Advancing Community Health and Well-Being Through Parks and Recreation contains evidence and practice-based strategies, resources and case study examples to give park and recreation professionals ideas and guidance to advance parks and recreation as Community Wellness Hubs. It provides a process guide to creating a Community Wellness Hub in alignment with seven dimensions of well-being. The toolkit is based on an evaluation of 15 local park and recreation agencies that planned, developed and created wellness hubs between 2020 and 2022.
Health equity must be at the center of Community Wellness Hubs — when health equity is achieved, all people can thrive. These hubs must focus on addressing the root causes of health inequities. This interactive framework guides local park and recreation professionals in applying an equity lens to system-wide operations, programs and services.
Park and recreation professionals are uniquely positioned to create, in partnership with community members and key collaborators, the people-centered Community Wellness Hubs needed to address public health threats and harness the full potential of community to ensure all people can thrive.
NRPA’s Health Impact Evaluation Framework: Measuring the Process and Outcomes of Health and Wellness Programs helps local park and recreation agencies better measure the impact of their health and wellness programs and initiatives, by connecting agencies to a multitude of existing evaluation tools, data sources, data analysis, data collection tools and other resources. The framework will help agencies better evaluate the benefit of park and recreation health interventions and communicate this benefit more effectively to local-elected officials, members of the public and philanthropic supporters.
Well-being Through Nutrition
Local park and recreation agencies serve as Community Wellness Hubs. In this role, park and recreation agencies provide vital programs and services that address the diverse health and wellness needs of all people, including promoting access to healthy food. Learn more about
- How agencies can integrate SNAP and WIC food assistance programs into their park and recreation space using NRPA’s online toolkit: SNAP and WIC Outreach Toolkit
Additional Resources to Help Advance Community Wellness Hubs
To meet the emerging health and wellness needs of the public, parks and recreation — in partnership with community members — is evolving into Community Wellness Hubs. The Parks and Recreation: Advancing Community Health and Well-Being report focuses on how park and recreation professionals are tackling the ever-expanding health and wellness needs of their communities, including programming, education, innovations and health equity.
Park and recreation agencies have a unique opportunity to contribute to local food and nutrition systems by serving as Community Wellness Hubs. NRPA's Parks, Recreation and Healthcare: Partnerships to Advance Community Wellness Hubs outlines opportunities for park and recreation and healthcare organizations to partner to support food access and reduce barriers to the social determinants of health across communities. The resource guides you through five key building blocks when creating partnerships including preparing to partner; coordinating the partnership; developing an implementation plan; assessing the impact of the partnership; and identifying how to sustain the partnership.
Local park and recreation agencies are perfectly suited to serve as Community Wellness Hubs and meet the unique needs of their communities through access to healthy foods, physical activity, social connections and connection to nature. Learn more by watching this video.
Building a Community Wellness Hub begins with centering equity. Check out this video highlighting how one community invited community members to be a part of the development of their hub. For more, explore this video series to learn how park and recreation professionals from three agencies began the planning process to implement a hub model in their communities to address food security and nutrition literacy for their community members during a critical time the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.