AKRON – Before the sun sets on Aug. 4, thousands of children served by three organizations in the Akron area will receive great new places to play.
The new playgrounds will be fully assembled from scratch in less than eight hours with the help of more than 600 Akron-area volunteers who will join the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and organizers from KaBOOM!. Volunteers will gather at each location for a kickoff ceremony at 8:30 a.m. and will complete the playground projects in time for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:30 p.m.
"The KaBOOM! playground builds are a day of engagement,” said Jennifer Thomas, Akron program director for Knight Foundation. “The collective effort that is put into the design will be realized because so many residents come out to participate.”
On Aug. 4, new playgrounds will be built at three locations in desperate need of playground equipment. Volunteers will build playgrounds at Cascade Village (210 East North St.), Celebration Church (688 Dan Street) and Miller Avenue United Church of Christ (1095 Edison Avenue). These new playgrounds will eventually serve thousands of children in the Akron area.
“We are excited about this unique partnership with KaBOOM! and the Knight Foundation to create community wide unity in Cascade Village and Greater Akron while building a safe and wonderful play area for our extraordinary children,” said Joshua Moraghan, Youth Development & Education Manager at Cascade Village.
“We are excited that Celebration Church can be a part of helping provide a safe place for children to play,” said Celebration Church Pastor Jeff Wade. “It is exciting to think the playground will not only benefit kids who go to church here, but also those from the neighborhood and children of families who may be at the juvenile court next door. This truly will be a playground for the entire community.”
“Our neighbors in Summit Lake have already joined in the planning process with enthusiasm,” said Miller Avenue Church of Christ Pastor Tom Gerstenlauer. “The list of volunteers for build day is long and inquiries are received daily. Anticipation is high for this addition to the community.”
Planning for the playground projects began at Design Day events held in May when local children and community leaders met with organizers from KaBOOM! and Knight Foundation to design their dream playgrounds. The children's drawings were then used to create the final playground designs.
The playgrounds are the last of six to be built by KaBOOM! and Knight Foundation this year, and among more than 150 builds KaBOOM! will lead across the country in 2012 in an effort to provide a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. A recent report shows that building the playgrounds with volunteers using the KaBOOM! community build model increases overall community involvement.
In addition to the community-built playgrounds, the new play areas will also include Imagination Playground in a Cart™ – a breakthrough playspace concept designed by architect David Rockwell to encourage child-directed, unstructured free play. With reconfigurable loose parts, Imagination Playground in a Cart™ allows children to constantly change their environment and design their own course of play.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation aims to help sustain democracy by leading journalism to its best possible future in the 21st century. It helps safeguard the rights of journalists worldwide and supports public information campaigns about the value of freedom of information and open government. The foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. More at knightfoundation.org.
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to saving play. Children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation, a fact that is having disastrous consequences on their health, achievement levels, and overall well-being. To fight this play deficit, social entrepreneur Darell Hammond founded non-profit KaBOOM! in 1996 in Washington, D.C. with a vision of creating a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since then, KaBOOM! has mapped over 89,000 places to play, built more than 2,100 playgrounds, and successfully advocated for play policies in hundreds of cities across the country. KaBOOM! also provides communities with online tools to self-organize and take action to support play on both a local and national level. Hammond chronicles the founding of the organization and the importance of the cause of play in his The New York Times Best Seller KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play. The book details how businesses and communities can work together to save play for children across the country. All author proceeds support KaBOOM!. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.
About Imagination Playground LLC
Imagination Playground is a breakthrough playspace concept conceived and designed by acclaimed architect David Rockwell to encourage child-directed, unstructured free play. Rockwell and his firm, Rockwell Group, have partnered with KaBOOM!, the leading national non-profit organization dedicated to bringing play to kids everywhere. The mission of this partnership is to inspire children’s inherent ability to dream and create by bringing Imagination Playground to communities across the country. With a focus on loose parts, Imagination Playground offers a changing array of elements that allows children to constantly reconfigure their environment and to design their own course of play. Giant foam blocks, mats, wagons, fabric and crates overflow with creative potential for children to play, dream, build and explore endless possibilities. For more information, please visit www.imaginationplayground.com or call 1.866.986.5551.
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Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.