This Saturday, students at Gulfstream Elementary in Cutler Bay, Fla. will receive the best Christmas-in-June present ever: a completely refurbished, kid-friendly, and wheelchair-accessible playground. About 1,200 miles north, students at Imani Education Circle Charter School in Philadelphia will also be receiving a playground ' something they have never had before.
Hundreds of volunteers will build both ' in just one day.
The projects are two of 13 nationwide that Knight Foundation has funded through a '$1.48 million grant to KaBOOM!, a nonprofit committed to saving play.
'The long-term intention is to get citizens to act in their own interest and get them engaged in their community through building the playground,' said Damian Thorman, national program director for the Knight Foundation.
Look for more throughout the year in Macon, Detroit and Akron.
At Gulfstream Elementary, the once-rickety, rusty playground that has been off-limits to students will be replaced with a shiny new one, equipped with monkey bars, swings, a rock wall, and chutes and ladders.
The Parent-Teacher Association at Gulfstream had raised $30,000 on its own; it would have taken the school three or more years to raise enough money for the playground, Jill Guarino, president of the school's PTA, told the Miami Herald.
Both playgrounds will also include an Imagination Playground in a Box, a breakthrough play space that encourages unstructured free-play, which is critical to social, intellectual and emotional development.