Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

A truckload of fun for kids

Ben Godar

For children who can’t make it to the city’s recreation programs, the

Mobile Recreation Unit is bringing the activities to them.

Parks, Recreation and Community Services employees take the


brightly colored truck to various parks throughout the summer. Inside

the truck is everything from basketballs to board games to art

supplies -- and it’s all free.

About a dozen mothers gathered with their children Thursday at the


truck’s first stop at Mountain View Park. The truck parked in the

shade while the toddlers stacked blocks, rolled balls and climbed

through plastic tunnels.

Alex Lowber-Himmel, 3, took a break from stacking some blocks to

compare the Mobile Recreation Unit to a trip to the toy store.

“Sometimes I go to the toy store; here, I get toys from the

truck,” he said.

Andrea Searle, who brought her 19-month-old daughter Katelyn to


the park, said the other kids were as much fun as the toys.

“It’s good for them to interact with each other,” she said.

While the morning crowd at Mountain View Park was made up solely

of toddlers, Recreation leader Jose Garcia said the unit draws older

kids to play basketball and chess.

“We try to get to the high school kids,” he said. “They don’t have

some of the programs that the middle school kids do.”

The Mobile Recreation Unit has been offering free activities to


kids throughout the city for about nine years, Recreation Program

Coordinator Mickey DePalo said. The city operates two of the

specially equipped vehicles, which he said were purchased with money

donated by Burbank Police from drug seizures.

“A lot of people take the schedule and show up wherever we’re at,”

he said. “We get kind of a following.”

In addition to stops at local parks, the units stop at events like

the Outdoor Picture Shows in the IKEA Courtyard. During the school

year, the unit provides activities for kids after school.