Spring 2021 Fellow: DeAndre Johnson, ‘24 (Undeclared)

Summer 2021 Fellow: Aditi Narayanan, ‘24 (Environmental Science and Economics)

Office Description

Established in the 1940s, the City of San Jose’s Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services Department the department has provided traditional parks and recreation services for more than 75 years. Over time, it has grown to include nontraditional activities such as senior nutrition and transportation services; preschool and afterschool programs; and gang reduction, intervention, and prevention.

The department’s mission is to build healthy communities through people, parks and programs. Its vision is to be a national leader of parks and recreation in cultivating healthy communities through quality programs and dynamic public spaces. To do so, it is guided by the principles of accessibility, inclusiveness, affordability, equity, diversity, sustainability, and flexibility. At a national level, parks and recreation professionals are guided 3 pillars: conservation, health and wellness, and social equity. The department strives to build community through fun, and make and activate quality places in San Jose where people want to live, work, play, and learn. Specifically, the department acquires, constructs, operates, and maintains parkland in 200 neighborhood parks, 9 regional parks, 3 public golf courses, and a host of unique facilities; provides recreational and community programs for youth, teens, adults, seniors, and people with disabilities by operating and partnering to run 50 community centers; and provides gang prevention and intervention services through the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force. Recently, it has also begun to offer “placemaking” events and programs that seek to connect diverse San Jose communities to our natural resources and facilities, and to each other.

Potential Projects

The San José Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services Department (PRNS) is the backbone of the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force (MGPTF), a 25-year old collaborative aimed at reducing gang violence. The fellow will be placed with the Strategic Partnerships Unit, the work team that manages the funding arm of the MGPTF and works closely with Community Based Organizations to deliver services to at-risk and gang-impacted youth. As the Strategic Partnerships Unit is housed in the Administrative Services Division of PRNS, the fellow will gain exposure to the breadth of local government work while helping PRNS improve the direct impact of its programs and services.  The fellow will work with analysts to explore new strategies to determine how resources can be deployed most effectively. During this research, the fellow will:

  • Support the Strategic Partnerships Unit in the research and development of a location-based analysis of community needs and resource allocation.
  • Research existing federal, state, and local programs, identifying best practices and innovative approaches;
  • Conduct phone interviews and site visits;
  • Collect, evaluate, and interpret data, either through quantitative or qualitative analysis;
  • Participate in Division and leadership meetings.

Desired Skills

  • Demonstrated ability to work well in a team environment; professionalism and maturity for formal and informal situations
  • Clear, concise, and convincing writing; ability to summarize complex ideas and data, and prepare presentations including appropriate graphic displays
  • Ability to interview City staff and industry experts to gather information
  • Comfort working in a variety of settings and with new and often complex government operations
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office
  • Previous work experience in a professional/office environment
  • Preference for rising juniors and seniors and for those with a career interest in government service

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