Arkansans who live in more populated areas with amenities such as fitness centers, gyms, and well-developed city parks may take for granted the convenient opportunities to get physical activity. Families who reside in urban communities may also experience barriers to accessing opportunities for physical activity, often by way of safe places to play, and cost barriers to programming and spaces for low-income families.

The Arkansas Joint Use Agreement (JUA) Grant, offered through the Arkansas Department of Education’s Office of School Health Services, can help under-served communities make it easier for people of all ages to get more physical activity. JUAs allow schools and the community to work together to bring more opportunities for physical activity to the entire community.

The JUA establishes a written agreement between school districts, non-profit organizations and other community members to allow schools to open their doors to the community outside of normal school hours. In other words, the agreement allows non-school entities to use public school facilities or for public schools to use non-school facilities. This allows community members access to walking paths, weight machines, courts or other facilities and equipment within the school or community organization that some would never have access to otherwise.

The benefits of JUAs are many, including helping people of all ages get more physical activity–which benefits overall health–building a closer-knit, stronger sense of community and increasing the shared value of a strong, well-supported local school system.

If you want to play football on a field, but you aren’t a high school student, a JUA can help you make it a reality. Don’t have a basketball goal in your driveway and want to play some 2-on-2 with friends? A JUA can help. If you are a school administrator, we encourage you to consider these opportunities for your community and the health of your students’ families. If you are a parent or other community member who’s interested in a JUA for your area, we encourage you to talk with your school and city leaders.

The request for proposals can be found here.  The deadline for schools to apply is March 16, 2018.

Learn more about JUAs by checking out the Priority 1 and Priority 4 pages.