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(HIP): HEAL in the Park

The HIP program is a park activation initiative to increase community use of Denver park space/community spaces in 6 NE Denver neighborhoods

Photo of gerald
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Name or Organization

IEG, Inc. is legal name of the organization where funding will be administered if the award is funded. IEG, Inc, is the collective network backbone for our partners MACM (Make A Chess Move) and C.H.I.C. (Collaborative Healing Initiatives withIn Community). MACM mentors youth to make their next move their best move by teaching chess as a critical thinking skill. C.H.I.C. teaches young gang-affiliated women holistic life skills to left them out of community cycle of poverty and violence.


IEG, Inc. is located in the Children's Corridor in NE Park Hill in Northeast Denver, Colorado.

What is your stage of development?

  • New Innovator, with less than one year of experience in ECD


  • Non-profit

What is the stage of your proposal?

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)

HIP is a game-changer for families in NE Denver that designs community inspired Healthy Eating Active Living programming in parks. The HIP program will increase park usage by community members through coordination of resident-led outdoor weekly exercise classes and weekly pop-up farmer's markets in 6 parks. In NE Denver, all residents have a park within 10 blocks (1/2 mile) of their home. Youth programming will have a two generation approach to engage families to bring all their children to their neighborhood park by having multiple programs for age demographic. It will be a one-stop shop.

Select an Innovation Target

  • Channel: A new way to deliver existing products or services to customers or end users.

Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)

HEAL in Parks (HIP) is an initiative to build Healthy Eating Active Living programming in multiple parks by developing, supporting and training resident leaders to coordinate exercise groups and pop up farmers markets in their community's parks. The HIP Channel network will build by training, and organizing residents from schools, RNOs, churches, and other community groups. The HIP Channel aims to implement Healthy Eating Active Living activities to increase community activity in 6 parks in the neighborhoods of Clayton (Schafer Park), Cole (Russell Square Park) , Five Points (Mestizo-Curtis Park), NE Park Hill (City of Axum Park), Skyland (Reverend Boyd Park), and Whittier (Fredrick Douglas Park).

What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)

The problem we are trying to solve is better outcomes for the youth that live in NE Denver. The families that grew up in NE Denver are being pushed out economically due to the failure of the community to educate them. HIP solves this through improving the financial, mental, and physical health of the community through HEAL enrichment programming.

Explain your idea (5000 characters)

For 12 weeks in the Summer of 2018, each week there will be 10 hours of active exercise programming at 6 parks, and 12 pop-up residential farmer's markets in each of the 6 neighborhoods. The 4 day a week/2 hours a day drop-in exercise program in parks will target youth summer camp programs in the community and youth residing within 5 blocks of each park. Each weekend there will be a morning exercise program targeted to adults. Residential pop-up farmers markets will be coordinated in each neighborhood for 12 weeks in the Summer of 2018. The markets will be hosted at homes with residential produce sales licenses. The market days will be promoted by HIP in the neighborhood, and neighborhood produce share events monthly in the parks for non-licensed gardeners to share their excess harvest with their neighbors. Resident leaders that live near the parks will design and coordinate programming for their park. Each community will choose programming that will engage residents to utilize the free instructor lead exercise classes. The populations within 5 blocks of each park will vary in demographics from age to ethnicity and the programming will be designed to honor the different community needs to engage in park activation. A HIP coordinator will mobilize and 6 train Park Coordinator resident leaders recruited from Registered Neighborhood Organizations, community organizations, Summer Camp Programs, schools, churches and resident leaders. The HIP Coordinator will facilitate the development of the resident leaders through training on event/program management, coordination, and scheduling and provide community outreach through fliers and Summer Programming organizing events. HIP will host 6 community organizing events in each neighborhood in the Spring of 2018. From these meetings, 6 committees will be formed to develop park specific programming and identify resident park coordinators for the Summer of 2018. A HIP Coordinator will register 6 Park Rx licenses with Denver Parks and Recreation for 2018 to reserve park space for the exercise programming. The HIP Coordinator will register 30 residents in the 6 neighborhoods for Residential Produce Sales licenses for the pop-up 72 farmers market events in 6 neighborhoods in the Summer of 2018. One weekend each month in the Summer of 2018, there will be a free community event in each park. The 24 HIP festivals will focus on Healthy Eating Active Living. There will be exercise classes, community resource tabling, healthy eating demos, and music. The festivals themes will be redefined by the 6 community park committees. HIP will provide event resources such as tents, DJs, HEAL Instructors, and marketing fliers.

Who benefits? (1500 characters)

The HIP Program will reach 41,840 residents in the 6 Northeast Denver neighborhoods from 2015 Census data. The 6 communities are roughly 44% white, 29% Latino, 23% African-American, and 4% Other. There are 5,600 youth under 18 in these communities. Over 38% of children in the 6 Neighborhoods live in poverty. The HIP program hopes to reach 1,800 youth and adults participants through exercise programs and 900 from festival events. For unique participants, the HIP program hopes to engage 100 participants per 6 parks to engage in 10 exercise programs over the Summer of 2018

What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)

The ultimate result of the HIP program is to create a foundation for the community to continue exercise programs and events at their neighborhood parks in 2019. The HIP project expects to develop an organizational capacity and strategic plan that allows the community to run the program on their own.The HIP Network will develop community capacity by providing and marketing regularly scheduled programming events in parks and neighborhoods. The HIP Network will provide training, organization, instructors and marketing to resident leaders to launch community park programs. With dedicated staff to this initiative, the HIP Network will develop a framework for the community to take ownership of their park and its programming. The resident leaders will be provided the resources for 1 year to increase park usage, and connected with funding resources such as crowdfunding and foundations to continue their program after 2018. The HIP Network will incubate the park programs for a year and provide the organizational structure and development to sustain. There will be a team in place to function independently to sustain operations of the HIP program concept. The team will have access to funding opportunities and strategies as part of the ongoing HIP Network to help them leverage, manage and coordinate resources. The exercise program hopes to reach 200 unique youth from the park community to participate in 36 exercise classes in the summer.

How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)

HIP can impact low-income children by providing high quality summer enrichment programs in parks. This free programming could help families through providing outdoor early learning opportunities when early childhood education centers may be closed.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)

The HIP Program will reach 41,840 residents in the 6 Northeast Denver neighborhoods from 2015 Census data. These residents all live within 1/2 mile (10 blocks) of a park. The risks of the proposed work are building resident constituencies that utilize and support the programming and attend events. The community will need to take ownership of the HIP program in their parks for the success. Recruiting committed resident leaders will be a challenge to make sure they are trained and access existing resources. For the project to continue in future years, funding sources will need to be cultivated especially community crowdfunding to support the program which can be leveraged to obtain other foundation support. The risks are community engagement, dedicated resident leaders, and funding for future years programming.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)

IEG has hosted an annual Harvest Share festival for 5 years in Denver City Parks. IEG has hosted summer youth gap programming to serve youth when summer programs conclude and school has not started.

Tell us more about you (3000 characters)

The idea came from prior efforts in NE Denver to build summer enrichment programs like the Youth Engagement Zone, and IEG Summer Gap programming. The IEG Summer Gap program pioneered a campus approach that utilized Pauline Robinson Library, Hiawatha Davis Jr. Recreation Center, Jack Vickers Boys and Girls Club, Skyland Park, and City of Axum park. The Mo Betta Green farmer's market in Sonny Lawson park is the HEAL inspiration for the pop-farmer's markets. Groundwork Denver is the inspiration for active park programming with their Park RX program in Mestizo-Curtis Park. The Share LiveWell Community Network is the inspiration for mobilizing HEAL programs. IEG, Inc, is excited about working in the early childhood space for the chance to encourage healthy life choices for parents when they are most susceptible to change due to a new birth. IEG, Inc. recognizes the opportunity to provide experiences that may guide families to make sustainable changes to break cycles of generational poverty.

Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (600 characters)

IEG needs to formalize relationships with existing organizations and networks.

As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (1800 characters)

IEG needs outreach support to build media collateral to engage people in the Spring 2018 to design summer programming.

Would you like mentoring support?

  • Yes

If so, what type of mentoring support do you think you need? (1200 characters)

Organizational framing, marketing, community outreach, Project Coordination framework

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?

  • Yes, share my contact information


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jacquelyn Rose

Hello Gerald! Thank you so much for sharing this innovation! Can you please describe how you plan on identifying and training resident leaders?

Photo of gerald

The plan is to hire a HIP Coordinator to work with registered neighborhood organizations (Greater Park Hill, NE Park Hill Coalition, HARP, and others registered with City of Denver) to invite their members to participate and leverage their network. Also, outreach will be done to local church communities, and other organized community groups.
We will also work with the Denver Quality Afterschool Connection to identify Summer Camps to bring them into the conversation and leverage programming.
Most importantly, we will go door to door to homes within 5 blocks of the park with flyers inviting them to visioning sessions about programming in the parks.
We also look forward to partnering with other organizations like the Dahlia Center for Health & Well-Being, Jack Vickers Boys & Girls Club, Hiawatha Davis Recreation Center, Pauline Robinson Library, EastSide Unified, and SHARE Network to invite residents to share their voice on what they would like to see in their communities.

Photo of Katie Lunde

HI Gerald,

We are located in Colorado and would love to chat about your idea and early childhood education. Could you shoot us an email?

Photo of gerald

Thanks, Katie. My email is I will also follow up with a standard email.