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.
The 100th build from Operation Playground was featured on "Good Morning America" June 17, 2008!
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.
American Institute for Public Service
100 West 10th Street, Suite 215
Wilmington, DE 19801-1665
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Darell Hammond to Receive 2008 National Jefferson Award
WASHINGTON D.C., - Darell Hammond will receive the Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at 7 p.m. in East Hall, Union Station. Selected by the Jefferson Awards’ prestigious board of selectors, Darell was chosen for a 2008 Jefferson Award for his advocacy on issues concerning children and community redevelopment.
Darell grew up with seven brothers and sisters at Mooseheart, a group home outside of Chicago. At Mooseheart, Darell witnessed first hand the amazing contribution volunteers could make in the life of a child and decided to dedicate himself to volunteer service.
In August 1995, shortly after moving to Washington, D.C., 24-year-old Darell Hammond read a story in the Washington Post about two local children who suffocated in an abandoned car because they didn’t have anywhere else to play. Darell, who had previously helped build several playgrounds for other organizations, realized this tragedy could have been prevented and started KaBOOM!, a national non-profit that empowers communities to build playgrounds. KaBOOM! organizes communities and provides them with an achievable win by leading them in building a playground in one day using all-volunteer labor. Once communities have completed a KaBOOM!-led playground build, they’re able to take the knowledge they’ve gained from the process to take on other projects. Since its inception in 1995, KaBOOM! has raised more than $100 million and rallied more than 241,000 volunteers to support the cause of play.
Today, KaBOOM! is recognized as a leader among social entrepreneurial organizations and Darell has become a well-known spokesperson for the cause of play. KaBOOM! and Darell have won numerous awards for national service, innovation and leadership including: Honorary Doctorate, Ripon College; Children's Mental Health Award, NARSAD; President's Volunteer Service Award; Power and Influence Top 50, non-profit Times; Washingtonian of the Year, Washingtonian magazine; 40 under 40, Crain's Chicago Business ; and the Making a Difference Award, Diet Coke.
In addition to his work with KaBOOM!, Darell serves on the Board of Directors of Independent Sector and Hands on Network and in 2003 was elected as an Ashoka Fellow for being a leader in social entrepreneurship.
ABOUT THE JEFFERSON AWARDS
In 1972, the Jefferson Awards for Public Service were founded by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard to create a Nobel Prize for public and community service. The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local. National award recipients are a “Who’s Who” of American history makers. Four Supreme Court Justices have been honored including Thurgood Marshall and Sandra Day O’Connor; seven Secretaries of State including Cyrus Vance and Colin Powell; three first ladies: Barbara Bush, Rosalyn Carter and Betty Ford; as well as Alan Greenspan, Bob Hope and Lance Armstrong, among over 100 others.
Through Jefferson Awards Champions, the Jefferson Awards honors outstanding employees and retirees who volunteer. We currently work with nearly 30 organizations across America on the Champions program. Through the Jefferson Awards Media Partners we honor grassroots unsung heroes. Working together with 135 Media Partners in 76 DMA’s we honor these unsung heroes all across America. Through the Jefferson Awards Youth Service Initiative we are working in America’s High Schools to double student volunteerism in America.
KaBOOM! builds 100th playground in the Gulf
"Operation Playground" initiative provides a great place to play for 49,605 children from Houston to Mobile
After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf Coast, KaBOOM!, the national non-profit that empowers communities to build playgrounds, made a commitment to build 100 playgrounds in the areas hardest hit by the storms. On June 14th, in Bay St. Louis Miss., KaBOOM! will reach this goal.
"When KaBOOM! began Operation Playground just three months after Hurricane Katrina struck, those outside the area were incredulous, believing that playgrounds were the last thing people needed in the midst of the devastation," said Darell Hammond, CEO and Co-founder, KaBOOM! "But we knew that the Gulf Coast's youngest residents needed safe places to escape the stress of the rebuilding effort and reclaim their childhood."
On Dec. 17, 2005, more than 600 residents and other volunteers came together at Carol Vegas Park in Bay St. Louis, Miss., to build a new playground, the first new permanent structure constructed in the town since Hurricane Katrina. Some wanted to give their kids a safe place to go while they re-built their homes; some remembered the aftermath of Hurricane Camille in 1969 and said they wanted to make sure local children had a place to heal emotionally; and others came out to take action and to be a part of the rebuilding process. On that day, and 98 other days just like it, volunteers transformed an empty lot into a great place to play in just one day.
Following the first build, KaBOOM! and its partners worked with community organizations to build playgrounds in cities from Houston to Mobile. With the generous support of funders such as Jim and Donna Barksdale, The Home Depot, Playworld Systems Inc., Fannie Mae, NBA Cares, the DJR Foundation, AmeriCares, ESPN and ING DIRECT, KaBOOM! has channeled $8.2 million into the area and mobilized more than 21,399 volunteers. Thirty-nine playgrounds were built in New Orleans alone, with 37 across the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.
On June 14th, KaBOOM! is returning to Bay St. Louis and will lead our 100th Operation Playground project at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park. Like all KaBOOM! projects, the process started off with a Design Day where neighborhood children gathered to draw their dream playground. For this build, their pictures included everything from a slide, to a basketball court to a Ferris wheel.
"While their parents took their ideas into consideration, the Ferris wheel didn't make the cut," said Hammond. The new playground at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park will serve 2,000 children from ages 2-12 and is in an area where 97% of the children qualify for free or reduced price lunch.
"This playground will give these neighborhood kids a great place to play everyday. We also need to use victories like our 100th build to thank our committed sponsors and to draw national attention to the ongoing needs of those living in the Gulf," said Hammond. "KaBOOM! and our sponsors will continue to build in the area for as long as there's a need. We've already scheduled our 101st and 102nd playground builds on June 28th, and we have projects scheduled through December."
The 100th and 101st playgrounds are two of seventeen playgrounds made possible by a partnership between KaBOOM! and the Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Fannie Mae, and the Foundation for the Mid South.
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 and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.
FROM: Rockwell Group
Rachel Carr, 212/685-4300
Dan Klores Communications for Rockwell Group
Alison Risso, 202/464-6186
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ARCHITECT DAVID ROCKWELL & KaBOOM! COLLABORATE ON NEW GENERATION OF "FREE PLAY" SPACES TO BE BUILT ACROSS THE U.S.
Anticipate Over 1,000 Imagination Playground™s Across the Country Within Five Years
Partnership to Encourage Play and Creativity – First "Playground in a Box" to be Installed In Brownsville, Brooklyn
May 5, 2008 (New York, NY) – Architect David Rockwell of Rockwell Group and KaBOOM!, the foremost national not for profit dedicated to bringing play back into the lives of children, today announced a partnership to develop and implement a new generation of playspaces across the United States, based on the play value concepts of Imagination Playground™, the Rockwell Group's design for a playground in lower Manhattan.
The Rockwell Group created Imagination Playground™, which will break ground this summer, to embody the concept of unstructured, child directed "free play," where children direct their own activities, alone and with their peers. The Rockwell Group has worked closely with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation on the initiative.
"We have always hoped to make the Imagination Playground™ concept available to communities nationwide," said David Rockwell, founder and CEO of Rockwell Group. "We could not be more thankful to KaBOOM! for helping make that dream a reality."
KaBOOM! has spent 12 years building playspaces using a community build model, where they partner with corporations, foundations and private donors. Creating opportunities and tools for building playgrounds, KaBOOM! will extend their play platform by incorporating the Imagination Playground™ model into an expandable collection of its trademark parts to supplement existing playgrounds and form the basis for new playspaces.
"KaBOOM! believes that play is a matter of national importance. We can't wait to bring some of the most innovative, yet old-fashioned concepts in play back to children across the country. By adding sand, water, loose parts, and play associates to what KaBOOM! already offers, we're going to revolutionize your neighborhood playground," said Darell Hammond, co-founder and CEO of KaBOOM!
Rockwell Group has designed three scalable and expandable playgrounds that include elements of Imagination Playground™. They can be installed in existing parks and play areas or newly developed ones, taking into account site, budget, logistics, and available supervision. Rockwell Group and KaBOOM! will also develop Imagination Playground™ "free play" education and advocacy tools and channels.
The three playground designs are described below. Each utilizes loose parts, designed by Rockwell Group, and found parts, along with sand and water, to create a unique playspace for children.
The first Imagination Playground™ in a Box will open in Brownsville, Brooklyn this summer. KaBOOM! is sponsoring the playground, its first in New York City.
KaBOOM! will also look to incorporate Imagination Playground™ into existing playground builds they have planned, allowing children to play in diverse and creative ways in an environment that can be manipulated. KaBOOM! builds more than 230 playgrounds a year. They work with local community groups to design and build the playground from scratch. Since their founding in 1995, they have raised more than $100 million to build 1,400 playgounds in cities across North America, which serve more than 3 million children.
Imagination Playground™ is designed to allow kids to use their creativity to play freely with loose and found parts, and other equipment, rather than prescribed activities. In its place are the raw materials of creativity and sensory exploration, such as sand and water, as well as play props, including building blocks, buckets, shovels, wheelbarrows, and other safe tools that facilitate children's play. These elements will enable children to play in an intuitive way: build something, tear it down, and start all over again.
Rockwell Group is an award winning, cross-disciplinary 250-person architecture and design practice founded by David Rockwell. Based in New York City, Rockwell Group specializes in hospitality, cultural, healthcare, theater and film design. Recent commissions include the Children's Hospital at Montefiore, the Elinor Bunin-Munroe Film Center, the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame at the Time Warner Center; Town restaurant and Chambers hotel (New York City); W New York and W Union Square (New York City); the renovation of the FAO Schwarz Flagship on Fifth Avenue; Cirque du Soleil (Orlando, Florida); the Broadway musicals "Hairspray" and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels"; the Academy Awards' Kodak Theatre; and numerous restaurants located internationally including New York restaurants Nobu Fifty Seven, Country, Bar Americain, as well as Gordon Ramsay's Maze in London and Roppongi Hills in Tokyo.
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. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.
A place to play
By Matt Sloane
May 2, 2008
I had one of the most rewarding experiences of my CNN career Wednesday, and it involved 40 children, about as many parents and some homemade jambalaya at a senior center in Louisiana.
"It starts with a playground" is the slogan for KaBOOM, a national non-profit organization that builds playgrounds. KaBOOM is our newest partner in the fight against childhood obesity. For those 40 kids, and even the parents in the room, it really does all start with a playground.
That's where CNN Fit Nation comes in. For us, it started with a phone call to KaBOOM, and six months later I found myself sitting at this senior center, watching the kids draw their dream playground with crayons. From those drawings, the parents and I sat with KaBOOM staffers and picked the playground equipment that best fit the kids' drawings. Two months from now on June 28, we'll all meet in Metairie to build it, in a shade under 6 hours.
As the parents and adults thanked me for CNN's contribution to their community, I asked all of them for something in return - to use this new playground and to get their children moving and to teach them how to stay healthy well into adulthood.
It's official! The 100th Operation Playground project will take place on Saturday, June 14 at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park in Bay St. Louis, fulfilling a commitment we made to build 100 playgrounds in the areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The project will kick off with a Design Day on Apr. 28. Our partners for this special build are the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Fannie Mae, the Foundation for the MidSouth, the Hancock Housing Resource Center and the City of Bay St. Louis.
The first Operation Playground project took place on Dec. 17, 2005 at Carol Vegas Park in Bay St. Louis, and it is so fitting that we will fulfill our commitment back where Operation Playground began nearly three years ago. More than 600 volunteers gathered on that day to help build the first new playground in the Gulf Coast after Katrina and Rita devastated the landscape. It was an amazing day that launched our commitment to build 100 playgrounds in areas affected by the hurricanes. Since then, KaBOOM! and our partners have built 90 playgrounds in towns from Houston to Mobile, bringing play back to the lives of children living in these areas and giving neighbors old and new the chance to rebuild a sense of community lost in the storms. While we will continue to build in the Gulf after the 100th playground, this important milestone will allow us to celebrate our success with friends, draw attention to the ongoing needs of those living in the Gulf and remind people about the importance of having safe and fun places children can play.