KaBOOM! News • page 17

The Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP is a new program designed to recognize NFL players who are making a positive impact in their local communities through charitable programs and contributions.

The Neighborhood MVP program will reward 17 players, one for each week of the regular season, with a football field refurbishment or a playground build in their honor and a donation to the charity of their choice. Each player will work with representatives from KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit whose vision is to create a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America, and volunteers from The Home Depot and the local community to complete the field refurbishment or playground build projects. Learn more about this program and vote for The Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP! [More]


At the end of the day Sept. 20, after building brand-new playgrounds in Chicago, Gulfport, Miami, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! will have built over 1,500 playspaces across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

The 1,500 playgrounds KaBOOM! has built, along with our generous funding partners and amazing community partners, serve more than 750,000 children each year!

We can’t wait to build 1,500 more!


In the summer of 2007, KaBOOM! tasked Northwestern University's ABCD Institute to undertake a one-year study to measure the impact our KaBOOM!-led builds have on communities.

The results are in, and findings indicate that when implemented appropriately, the KaBOOM! Community-Build process creates a lasting impact on the communities it partners with, both in terms of building capacity, enhancing community pride and cultivating KaBOOM!-leadership, as well as enhancing the play experience of neighborhood children.

Some of the findings include:

  • Ninety-four percent of KABOOM!-led respondents, and 90 percent of Do-It-Yourself respondents believe that their playground project helped strengthen relationships among neighborhood residents and among community partners.
  • Over half of all KABOOM!-led and Do-It-Yourself groups reported that their project expanded their capacity to address other community issues. Nearly 100 percent of all groups believe that their KaBOOM! playground positively impacted the quality and quantity of children's play.

Download the executive summary (PDF, approx. 32Kb)

Download the presentation (PDF, approx. 700Kb)


By Mark C. White

Can the KaBOOM! community-build model be used around the globe to bring play opportunities to all children? A small group of Playmakers and I put the theory to the test in Poland.

Through the gracious generosity of KOMPAN, BigToys and extensive fundraising, we were able to not only complete one playground project, but two: one at a rural Polish orphanage (Dom Dziecka) and another at an elementary school in the city of Poznan. Dr. Melinda Bossenmeyer of Peaceful Playgrounds donated a complete set of recess hard surface play area stencils and a paint-striping machine, and I bought all the tools to bring with us with a $500 Home Depot gift card awarded to me last fall by KaBOOM!.

Day one. Upon arrival at Dom Dziecka "Droga" located in the small village of Goscieszyn Poland, we found two crates from KOMPAN delivered the previous week. After unloading and storing our luggage, we went immediately to work.

Day two. The first full day of the build went very quickly. The team divided informally into three separate groups to assemble the three pieces of equipment. The team dug all the holes except for those for the spring-loaded seesaw. We wanted to give the kids the opportunity to dig the holes and mix in the concrete for this piece of equipment; therefore ensuring ownership as well as a memorable experience.

Day three. The safety surfacing material was delivered. The kids were starting to arrive back from school, so we had an added resource of labor to move the safety surfacing and filled both "safe use zone" areas.

Day four. We headed for our next build site: King David School. The school rents a portion of a public middle school. The objective of this build was to promote trust and cooperation amongst the administration, the surrounding "block housing" neighborhood and the parents of the students who attend King David School. My Polish counterpart, Przemek, had every detail of the build process planned out on a spreadsheet for each day of the project. We had parent volunteers both days to help complete the project. It was great to see Poles and Americans working side by side. No language translation was necessary. The smiles and teamwork said it all! We were there for a common purpose….to build a playground for a school that had none.

Day five. The next morning we had an assembly with the children and staff of the school: the official celebration and grand opening of the new playground. The children presented us with a booklet they had made with playground artwork, including many thank you's. I presented KaBOOM! "I Am Play" Playmaker t-shirts to the principal and Przemek, to great cheers and applause from the children and staff.

Mark C. White, founder of Playgrounds of Peace, is the environmental/risk and safety manager for the Lee's Summit R-7 School District. He's been a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (NPSI) for eight years, is S.A.F.E. certified, and has served as a National Advisory Board member for the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS).


July 25, 2008 KaBOOM!

Jamison focuses on hometown

Shreveport native is one of NBA's most giving
By Jason Pugh
Shreveport Times
July 23, 2008

Watch a photo slideshow of Antawn Jamison at the Design Day

Antawn Jamison's basketball resume shows plenty of team and individual success.

Ditto for his community service resume, something that will grow with respect to Shreveport in the next month.

Jamison, a Shreveport native and two-time NBA All-Star, was in Bossier City on Tuesday to announce the building of a KaBOOM playground on St. Charles Street in the Barksdale Annex neighborhood.

"I was in the All-Star Game this past year and we did a lot for the community of New Orleans," Jamison said. "The most important thing for me is giving back to kids. KaBOOM does a lot for the community and kids. I recall as a kid, just having the opportunity to have that one place where I could go and be a kid — just enjoy myself and play. I still have those memories. There's a lot of kids in dire need of that opportunity." [More]


June 28 & 29, 11 am – 5 pm

Imaginative Foam Blocks of a Variety of Shapes and Sizes, Fabric, Tarps and Cardboard Nurture Fun, Imaginative Play

Queens, N.Y. – June 17, 2008 - Children of all ages are invited to play with hundreds of foam building blocks from Imagination Playground™, which nurtures creative play and is being planned for downtown New York City, when the Hall in the Anthony Viscusi Gallery at the New York Hall of Science is transformed into a giant playground for kids of all ages on June 28 and 29th between 11am and 5pm.  This event will feature over 265 blue foam blocks of different weights and sizes, which children will be able to build structures and sculptures, tear them down, and then start all over again.  They will also be able to integrate loose parts and found objects, including fabrics, tarps and reused cardboard, into the fun. 
 
The foam blocks, designed by the Rockwell Group, are part of the architecture and design firm’s Imagination Playground™ which is being built in Burling Slip near South Street Seaport, as well as in an abbreviated form in Brownsville, Brooklyn.  There are others being planned for the remaining boroughs of New York, and throughout the country. Rockwell Group first developed the design and concept for Imagination Playground™, which breaks ground this summer, to nurture creative play through a combination of loose parts, water and sand, creating an infinite number of creative play ideas and ensuring that no two visits to the play ground are ever the same. This type of design architecture allows for transformative, socio-cooperative and imaginative constructive play, which can evolve as children mature.

In partnership with KaBOOM!, the foremost national not for profit dedicated to bringing play back into the lives of children, Rockwell Group will also make their principles of unstructured free play available to any community around the country with Imagination Playground™ in a BOX.  This semi-mobile kit of parts, featuring an array of loose parts, can adapt to many different site conditions such as parks, child care environments and school settings. When Imagination Playground™ in a BOX opens, it will immediately activate the environment around it, creating a playground configured by children’s play, and evolving as the community of children changes throughout the day. The first Imagination Playground™ in a BOX will be in Brownsville, Brooklyn, July 9th through Labor Day, but children will have a preview of the loose parts, including the foam building blocks that make up the kit at the New York Hall of Science!

The Imagination Playground™ Play Event will be at the Hall of Science on Saturday and Sunday, June 28 and 29, from 11 am – 5 pm in the Anthony Viscusi Gallery. The event is free with general Hall admission.

Founded over 20 years ago by David Rockwell, Rockwell Group is an award winning, cross-disciplinary 250-person architecture and design practice based in New York. Rockwell Group specializes in hospitality, culture, theater and film design.  Commissions include the Elinor Bunin Film Center at Lincoln Center; a series of public school libraries for the Robin Hood Foundation’s Library Initiative, the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore; interior work and brand conceptualization of the JetBlue Airways terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport; Chambers hotel and Town restaurant (New York); W New York and W Union Square; the Kodak Theatre, home of the Academy Awards ceremony (Los Angeles); the Broadway musicals “Hairspray,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” and “Legally Blonde”; the World Trade Center Viewing Platform; and numerous restaurants around the world including Nobu Fifty Seven, Country, Bar American; Nobu (Hong Kong, Dallas, Dubai), Xen in Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills, and Gordon Ramsay’s Maze (London).  His monograph, Pleasure: The Architecture and Design of Rockwell Group, was published by Universe, a division of Rizzoli Books in 2002.  Spectacle, a book with Bruce Mau, was published by Phaidon Press in October 2006.

The New York Hall of Science is New York City’s hands-on science and technology center. More than 400 interactive exhibits explore the wonder and excitement of biology, chemistry and physics. Admission is $11 for adults and $8 for children (ages 2-17), college students with valid ID, and seniors (62+). For hours, directions, and other information, please visit www.nyscience.org or call 718.699.0005.

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 1,400 new playgrounds, skateparks, sports fields and ice rinks across North America.  KaBOOM! also offers a variety of resources, including an online community, regional and national trainings, grants, publications and the KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play, which includes Playful City USA and the Playmaker Network – a national network of individual advocates for play.  Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago, Atlanta and San Mateo, Calif.   www.kaboom.org.

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The 100th build from Operation Playground was featured on "Good Morning America" June 17, 2008!

Watch the segment here.


More than 500 volunteers converged on Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park in Bay St. Louis on June 14 to help KaBOOM! and our partners complete the 100th Operation Playground project in the Gulf Coast. In December 2005, KaBOOM! committed to build 100 playgrounds in the region after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast, starting with the first in Bay St. Louis. It was only fitting that the 100th playground was built in the town where it all began.

The 100th build was a true community celebration. Not even a midday shower could dampen the enthusiasm of the volunteers from the local community, Fannie Mae, AmeriCorps*NCCC, Gulf Coast Recovery Corps, Keesler Air Force base, and others, many of whom had participated in several previous Operation Playground projects. In just under six hours, the volunteers completed two playground structures, refurbished two basketball courts, and built an extensive new ‘front porch' entrance to the park. They also painted several murals commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, the community and Operation Playground. As a finishing touch, local children created a ‘Heroes Walk' around the park honoring the men and women of the Civil Rights movement.

The project was made possible by a partnership between KaBOOM!, the Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Fannie Mae, Foundation for the Mid South, the City of Bay St. Louis, Hancock Housing Resource Center and Powerhouse of Deliverance Church. At 2:30, representatives from each of the organizations, along with the volunteers and past Operation Playground Community Partners, gathered to cut a very special ribbon made up of 100 painted panels representing each of the 100 Operation Playground projects.

Because of Operation Playground, more than 22,000 volunteers have donated their time to build playgrounds for nearly 50,000 children from Houston to Mobile. In all, through Operation Playground, $8.2 million has been invested to build great new places to play in the Gulf Coast by Jim and Donna Barksdale, The Home Depot, Playworld Systems, Fannie Mae, Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, NBA Cares, DJR Foundation, AmeriCares, ESPN, ING Direct and other outstanding partners.

KaBOOM! will continue to build in the region and already has several projects scheduled through December. The 101st and 102nd Operation Playground projects will take place in New Orleans and Biloxi on Saturday, June 28.