Vista, El Cajon, and Calgary Communities Win David Rockwell-Designed Imagination Playground in a Box Systems

Parents Magazine, KaBOOM! and Foresters Announce Contest Winners

Washington DC  (October 21, 2010) — This July, Parents, KaBOOM!, the nonprofit organization on a mission to save play, and Foresters™, a life insurance provider that champions the well-being of families, launched a contest to give three deserving communities an Imagination Playground in a Box. 

With a focus on loose parts, David Rockwell’s 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.  Each Imagination Playground in a Box is worth $25,000.  For more information about these playgrounds, go to www.imaginationplayground.org  or http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/ImaginationPlayground.

More than 650 communities across North America entered their playgrounds into the contest, earning points for their playground posting pictures to an online record, hosting meet ups and rallying other community members to “virtually” support their local playspace. 

Parents Magazine, KaBOOM! and Foresters are pleased to announce that the winners (in alphabetical order) are:

Casita Elementary Playground -- VISTA, CA
Casita Center for Technology, Science, and Math is a magnet elementary school in Vista, California. It serves approximately 700 kids from grades K-5 as well as additional preschoolers. Casita is in a Federal Title I low income neighborhood with 63% of the kids being socioeconomically disadvantaged. 

Fletcher Hills Presbyterian Preschool -- EL CAJON, CA
Fletcher Hills Presbyterian Preschool has been a part of the community since 1961 and serves approximately 100 students every week.  The classrooms of the school open directly onto the playground and all the windows face toward it..

New Heights Learning Services -- CALGARY, AB
The autistic children from New Heights Learning services don't automatically learn from the world around them as a typical child would. They need to be taught and encouraged, but in order for this to work, the child needs to be motivated to learn.  With their Imagination Playground, New Heights hopes to encourage these kids to use and build their play skills and imaginative abilities.

Of the more than 650 submissions that received community support, the top 50 play spaces were then narrowed down to ten semifinalists by a panel of judges and required to submit grant applications.  Of those top ten, three winners were then selected by an online public vote.  These three communities earned thousands of votes by mobilizing their communities, alerting the media, and reaching out to their social networks. 

After encouraging communities to rally around their local playspace, Parents, KaBOOM!, and Foresters hope that all contestants continue to work to improve their playground, using online tools that KaBOOM! provides at www.kaboom.org.

 “It’s so important for communities to create a safe place for children to play,” says Dana Points, editor in chief of Parents. “It may look like fun and games, but playgrounds and what unfolds in them are more important to our kids and communities than many of us realize.” 

”Playgrounds are not only critical for bringing children together to get active, but they bring whole communities together.  Parks and playgrounds are shared spaces where neighbors meet and working together to support a playground is a great way to help strengthen a whole community” said Darell Hammond, CEO and Co-founder of KaBOOM!.

“Foresters recognizes that changing times have made it more difficult for families to spend time together. Through our support of KaBOOM! playground initiatives, Foresters is helping to create safe play-spaces for children and parents to spend time together and get to know other families in their community,” said Kasia Czarski, SVP, Chief Membership and Marketing Officer, Foresters.

About Parents:
Parents, published monthly by Meredith Corporation, has been America's #1 family magazine for more than 80 years. Since its inception in 1926, it has been a trusted source by every generation of parents.  Currently, the magazine is a powerful community of nearly 15 million readers devoted to supporting the efforts of parents, educators and other citizens who strive to make the world a better place for our children. Parents can be found online at www.parents.com.

About Foresters:
Founded in 1874 as a fraternal benefit society, Foresters™ champions the well-being of families through quality life insurance, unique member benefits and inspiring community activities. Foresters shares its financial strength with more than 765,000ˆ members in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Unity Life of Canada‡ is a wholly owned subsidiary of Foresters. For more information, please visit www.foresters.com.
Foresters™ is a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal benefit society, 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9.
† Investments offered through Foresters Equity Services, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC, 6640 Lusk Blvd., Suite A-202, San Diego, CA 92121 T. 858 550 4844.
‡Unity Life of Canada, a Foresters company, is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Independent Order of Foresters.
ˆ Includes total number of UK Child Trust accounts

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 1,800 new playgrounds, skateparks, 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.

About Rockwell Group
Rockwell Group is an award winning, cross-disciplinary 120-person architecture and design firm specializing in cultural, hospitality, retail, product, and set design. Based in New York, with satellite offices in Madrid and Dubai, the firm crafts a unique narrative and an immersive environment for each project. Rockwell’s interest in theater has informed much of the firm’s work, which includes the W Hotel, Union Square; Maialino at the Gramercy Park Hotel;  Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis New York, the central Marketplace of the JetBlue terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport; set design for the 2009 and 2010 Academy Awards ceremonies; the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, Nobu restaurants worldwide, set designs for Broadway’s “Hairspray,”and the upcoming “Houdini;” Canyon Ranch Living in Miami; the Elinor Bunin-Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center; and the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.  David Rockwell was honored with the 2009 Pratt Institute Legends Award,and the 2008 National Design Award for Interior Design from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt.  For more information, please visit www.rockwellgroup.com.