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Check out this news story and video from the St. Louis Rams playground build!


The Belleville News-Democrat featured an awesome story and video from our build with the St. Louis Rams in East St. Louis this week. Here's a heartwarming snippet:

Five-year-old Kennedy Maxwell sat on a bench with her mom and watched as workers readied an area in Lincoln Park to install new playground equipment and make the park come alive.

 

Marshall said as soon as the playground was finished she was going to ask her mom, Andrea Maxwell, "to take me to the playground so I can slide, swing and just play." As she talked about the playground, a wide smile lit up her face.

Continue reading (and watch the video): Rams work so kids can play: Team helps build playground at East St. Louis' Lincoln Park (Belleville News-Democrat)

And check out another video here: St. Louis Rams Fund New Playground Designed By Kids In East St. Louis (Fox 2)

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Obama announces "United We Serve" initiative


"This summer, I'm calling on all of you to make volunteerism and community service part of your daily life and the life of this nation," says President Obama in the video. "And when I say 'all,' I mean everyone – young and old, from every background, all across this country. We need individuals, community organizations, corporations, foundations, and our government to be part of this effort." Learn more at www.serve.gov.

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Outdoor Learning Environments slide selected for first KaBOOM! natural playground


I thought this press release might be of interest to folks...check it out!

KaBOOM! Selects Progressive Design Playgrounds' Outdoor Learning Environments Slide for First Natural Playground Project
Commercial Playground Company's Natural Playgrounds Serve as Outdoor Classrooms

VISTA, CA--(Marketwire - June 16, 2009) - KaBOOM! selected Progressive Design Playgrounds' Interactive Grass Slide for inclusion in the national nonprofit's inaugural natural playground, which was built in Hawaii last week. The Interactive Grass Slide is a natural playground product designed by Progressive Design Playgrounds, www.pdplay.com, and part of the company's Outdoor Learning Environments launched earlier this year.

Outdoor Learning Environments are natural playgrounds that extend the classroom into the outdoors where children can play with and among natural elements such as sand, water and living plants. Through natural learning, these outdoor classrooms enhance and reinforce the lessons students learn in every subject from math to the arts. They range from vegetable gardens, to slides built into grass hills, to stages where pretend play capitalizes on natural surroundings to stimulate young minds. More elaborate natural playgrounds include science labs, greenhouses, ponds, dirt trails, trike trails and mazes and reading amphitheaters. They often include local plants and boulders, contributing to the authenticity of the natural environment. A list of these natural playground products can be found online at www.outdoorlearningenvironments.com.

Continue reading: KaBOOM! Selects Progressive Design Playgrounds' Outdoor Learning Environments Slide for First Natural Playground Project

See more photos from the build.

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Guidelines for Eco-Friendly Service Projects now available!


Are you planning a service project and want to make sure it has a big impact on the community and a low impact on the environment? Do you wish there were a guide that could help you plan for an eco-friendly service project? Well, you are in luck!

KaBOOM! and The Home Depot Foundation are excited to present the first comprehensive guidelines on how to make your service project as eco-friendly as possible. To develop a baseline of information about planning for an eco-friendly community service project, research was conducted using interviews with a range of volunteer organizations, workshops about eco-friendly practices, surveys of subject matter experts, and an online working group, including KaBOOM! staff. We hope that these guidelines continue to grow over time and serve as a valuable tool for any type of service project.

Guidelines for Eco-Friendly Service Projects was created to offer best practices for service project managers to use in their planning process to lessen the environmental impact and to ensure that community service projects are maintained over time. Project managers can lessen environmental impacts by generating less waste, reducing energy and materials consumption, and by offsetting environmental impacts that cannot be eliminated.

Continue reading, download the guidelines, and have your say: Guidelines for Eco-Friendly Service Projects

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Antawn Jamison’s Blog: Guess Who's Back?!


Washington Wizards All-Star and KaBOOM! All-Star Playmaker Antawn Jamison is at it again—he’s building another playground with KaBOOM!, this time in his hometown of Charlotte! Just like the builds Antawn participated in last year with KaBOOM! in Bossier City, La., and Washington D.C., he’s writing a weekly blog about the upcoming build, which will take place on July 11 at the Simmons Family YMCA.

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Guess who’s back?! I know it’s been a while, but here I am again getting ready for another playground build. Last Summer, I sponsored a playground build in Bossier City, La. (near my hometown of Shreveport) and partnered with KOOL-AID to build a playground in Washington, D.C. This time, I’m sponsoring a build in the place where I really grew up and started making a name for myself – Charlotte, N.C. I wanted to do this build in Charlotte because I went to high school there and my parents still live there. I built a house there a few years ago and live there during the offseason. I’m looking forward to the build and think it will be one of the highlights of my summer. I’m not sure if you followed me and my Wizards team this year, but if you did, you’d know that it was a very long year filled with lots of injuries (to my teammates) and very few wins or bright spots. Although it was a rough year that I’d like to forget, I’m confident that better days are ahead for us and that this fall we’ll be ready to accomplish great things!

Just after the season ended, I went to New York to have surgery to remove a bone spur in my ankle. I injured the ankle in one of the final games of the season and it actually made me miss the season finale. It has been just over a month since the surgery and I’m feeling much better. I’m getting around really well and just officially started rehabbing it today. The surgery made me miss my playground Design Day with the Simmons Family YMCA (whom we’re partnering with for the build). I was upset that I had to miss the Design Day, especially after I saw all of the creative pictures that the kids from Simmons drew!

I’m confident that I’ll be back at 100 percent soon and ready to attack the huge mulch pile on Build Day. Build Day is on Saturday, July 11 at the Simmons Family YMCA, which is just a few minutes away from where I went to high school (Providence High). I’m actually hosting my fourth annual basketball camp at Providence High the same week as the build. Some of my campers will be given the opportunity to volunteer to help build the playground with me. I’m even having some of the KaBOOM! staff come out during our camp to talk to the campers about how the whole process works and why it’s important to build playgrounds.

That’s it for now but I’ll be back soon with more updates on how my rehab is going and how I’m preparing for build day which is less than a month away!

-Antawn

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Get a free gift by using the KaBOOM! project planner


We want to help you complete your project, so we’re giving you an extra incentive! In less than 15 minutes, you can start your project on the KaBOOM! Project Planner and complete Mile Marker 0, at which point we’ll send you a free gift (while supplies last). We want to provide a spark of inspiration so you can realize your dream of providing a great place to play for the children in your community.

What is the KaBOOM! Project Planner, you ask? It’s a cool new tool that helps you build or improve a playground or other playspace in your community with detailed guidance every step of the way. It's free and easy to use. And it works: The KaBOOM! process has already helped people like you to build thousands of playgrounds across the United States.

You can find it here! Get started today!

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KOOL-AID Supports KaBOOM! Launch of National Play Days Initiative

Together KOOL-AID and KaBOOM! Put Play on the National Agenda

TARRYTOWN, N.Y., June 15 -- Today KOOL-AID and KaBOOM! are getting serious about fun. The iconic beverage choice for all generations and the organization that has pledged to return play to kids' lives, announces the launch of KaBOOM! Play Days.

From September 19-27, over 1,000 communities across the U.S. will host free, fun-for-the-whole-family events that focus on the important role play plays in a child's life. One lucky community also will host the partnership's official spokespeople, Hip Hop Pioneer Rev Run and his wife Justine Simmons.

  • Purpose. While entertaining activities are a big part of KaBOOM! Play Days, they're not all fun and games. KaBOOM! Play Days are an opportunity for communities to come together to improve their local parks and playspaces with clean-ups and simple enhancement and construction projects.
  • Customized. Combining national reach with local impact, these events encourage each community to get creative and customize its Play Day to fit its own unique needs.
  • Supported. To help communities in their planning, Rev Run is hosting online training sessions at kaboom.org/koolaid. Once a community has registered online, Rev Run and the KaBOOM! team will guide them every step of the way to organize playful events kids of all ages will enjoy together.
  • Play Day Kit. After community leaders complete their training, they'll receive a Play Day kit filled with games, activity ideas and gear to help make their Play Day great.

"KOOL-AID has always been about having fun and playing. Supporting Play Days is our way of helping keep play alive on playgrounds and in communities across the country," explained Gregory Nesmith, KOOL-AID senior brand manager.

Darell Hammond, CEO and Co-founder of KaBOOM! said, "Play Days are a key part of putting play on the national agenda as a critical issue and we are delighted to have KOOL-AID support in making great play possible for kids everywhere."

Sign a 'Petition for Play'
While parks and playgrounds will likely be improved, Play Day attendees also will be expected to play games and have a great time. And, afterwards, they can get the word out that fun is serious. Everyone is invited to sign a national petition to Congress and municipal leaders that every child, regardless of income or geography, needs a great place to play within walking distance. And, they need at least 60 minutes each day devoted to play. For more information on how to sign the petition visit www.kaboom.org/koolaid

In addition to supporting KaBOOM! Play Days, this year KOOL-AID will be sponsoring its 25th community-built playground with KaBOOM!. The brand also has helped KaBOOM! train over 200 community leaders to be play advocates within their neighborhoods and provided grants for 20 additional Do-It-Yourself playgrounds.

About Kraft Foods
Kraft Foods (www.kraftfoodscompany.com) makes today delicious in 150 countries around the globe. Our 100,000 employees work tirelessly to make delicious foods consumers can feel good about. From American brand icons like Kraft cheeses, dinners and dressings, Maxwell House coffees and Oscar Mayer meats, to global powerhouse brands like Oreo and LU biscuits, Philadelphia cream cheeses, Jacobs and Carte Noire coffees, Tang powdered beverages and Milka, Cote d'Or, Lacta and Toblerone chocolates, our brands deliver millions of smiles every day. Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT) is the world's second largest food company with annual revenues of $42 billion. The company is a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor's 500, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and the Ethibel Sustainability Index.

About KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is a national non-profit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since 1995, KaBOOM! has used its innovative community-build model to bring together business and community interests to construct more than 1,600 new playgrounds, skate parks, sports fields and ice rinks across North America. KaBOOM! also offers a variety of resources, including an online community, free online trainings, grants, publications and the KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play, which includes Playful City USA and Playmakers - a national network of individual advocates for play. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.

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Obama emphasizes importance of playgrounds in healthcare speech


At a speech on healthcare in Green Bay, Wis. June 11, President Obama emphasized the importance of play and playgrounds.

"Michelle and I always used to talk -- when we were kids, folks our age and over will remember this -- (laughter) -- basically, your folks, especially during the summer, you would leave at 8:00 a.m., and then maybe you came home for some lunch, and then you'd be gone until dark and you'd come back in. And that whole time you were out there running around. Well, kids aren't doing that. Now, some of it is safety issues, and that's why public safety is important; having playgrounds is important; having adults who are willing to volunteer for Little League and basketball leagues -- that's all important. But we've got to get our children into healthier habits. That in turn will lead to healthier adults."

Continue reading: Remarks By The President In Town Hall Meeting On Health Care (Whitehouse.gov)

Wow! This is awesome! It's so great the president is promoting healthy lifestyles by emphasizing the importance of play.

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