The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Aug 06, 2012

Akron residents build playgrounds, and a sense of community

Posted by Jennifer Thomas

Building playgrounds is not child's play. More than 600 Akron residents came out on Saturday Aug. 4 in three locations across the city to pour concrete, maneuver metal equipment and haul mulch.


The result for children: three beautiful playgrounds in neighborhoods where they were

desperately needed. The result for the adult residents: a proud accomplishment after weeks of designing, planning, organizing and then engaging hundreds of neighbors in a physically grueling but rewarding day.


The build was one of six funded by Knight this year as a way to get residents more engaged in neighborhood life. A recent report shows that KaBOOM!'s model for building playgrounds inspires people to do more for their community. 


Saturday, Annie Sparks, a lead organizer for the build pictured above with KaBOOM!'s Kenny Altenburg, went door to door in her neighborhood where abandoned houses are common and recruited 150 neighbors to help with the build. Leadership like this is essential for a successful build and was seen across the city.



A similar scene played out at Cascade Village where resident Joi Wilson kept all residents on task, even in the 91 degree heat and after a frustrating mistake of assembling the slide incorrectly. The Cascade Village site will serve over 75 children. At the end of the day, the exhausted residents were beaming with pride.


By Jennifer Thomas, program director/Akron at Knight Foundation


Read more in the Akron Beacon Journal.


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