With the holiday season winding down and a new year fast approaching, we figured that the good cheer shouldn’t have to dwindle! It’s in this spirit that we give you the last Inspiration Monday of 2009. But don’t worry! There are plenty of great stories to continue into 2010, and many more memories to be made!
There's something to be said about the physical transformation of a space that happens when a brand new playground is built. What one might not realize, however, is that when a community works together to accomplish this task, the greatest transformation tends to be something intangible: the changing of minds.
Such a change occurred in the city of La Habra, Calif. following its playground build at Corona Park on Aug. 15. It was here that 214 adult volunteers and 50 children (playing games and wielding paintbrushes for their own 1x1 murals) came together to turn an empty lot where gangs tended to congregate into a safe haven of community pride and fellowship. A week following the opening, one of the residents who was asked about how the playground looked stated that she hadn’t been able to see the playground due to the number of kids enjoying it!
However, the lasting effect has been on the neighborhood as a whole. Followers have become leaders. There have been stories of neighbors putting aside their disputes and using the park as a place of gathering and camaraderie. In an area usually full of gang activity, there hasn’t been a single instance of vandalism on the site and, in fact, it seems to be protected from such occurrences as a safe place for the children. Gangs have dissipated because parents are actually sitting outside with their kids. There’s always someone to watch over the playground and keep it clean and neat, and the park has even become the host to numerous activities including monthly community meetings (with higher attendance than ever)!
"Inspiration Monday" is a new, regular KaBOOM! blog feature.
Here's a collection of videos covering our playground build with CaliforniaVolunteers, First Lady Michelle Obama, and California First Lady Maria Shriver on June 22. (Some of which have ads at the beginning - apologies.)
California First Lady Maria Shriver and First Lady Michelle Obama speak to playground volunteers (NBC Bay Area News):
ABC 7 local coverage:
Watch the opening session of the National Conference on Volunteering & Service LIVE (2:30 p.m. PDT June 23)
Also, this build has been featured in several news outlets:
I'm so excited for this - check out the press release below! We're going to be posting updates as the build progresses this week on Twitter and in our photo galleries - stay tuned!
Designed by kids, built by volunteers:
Omidyar network, YMCA of Honolulu, national non-profit KaBOOM! work with local volunteers to build playground at YMCA Camp H.R. Erdman
WAIALUA – Oahu’s children will soon have a new, 29,000 square foot playground at the YMCA of Honolulu’s Camp H.R. Erdman that celebrates nature in a fun and exciting way. The new playground is based on drawings provided by children from the Camp and the surrounding area who attended a Design Day in January.
From Wednesday, June 3 through Saturday, June 6, more than 250 volunteers from the YMCA of Honolulu and residents of the community will join forces with organizers from national non-profit KaBOOM! to construct a Nature Built playground at the Camp. The dedication ceremony is at 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 6 at the Camp.
The new playground will be a unique blend of natural elements in a landscape designed to serve as a community playground for years to come. Native plants and materials will be used to create the spacious playground, which will also function as an educational tool on environmental sustainability for the Camp’s children.
Features of the new playground include:
The playground will also feature an Imagination Playground™ in a BOX - a portable series of loose parts, sand and water created by KaBOOM! and internationally renowned architect David Rockwell that elicits highly creative and interactive play among children.
“We’ve helped communities build more than 1,600 playspaces in the last 13 years, but this is our very first Nature Built playground,” said Darell Hammond, KaBOOM! CEO and Co-Founder. “When we’re finished, we’ll have a lasting testament to the importance of children having a great place to play, an example of how creativity can inspire environmentally friendly practices and a clear indication of what can be accomplished with the sweat equity of volunteers working together.”
YMCA Camp Erdman has been providing outdoor camp, recreational and environmental education experiences for over 80 years. Each year, children from all over Hawaii visit YMCA Camp Erdman to live, learn and have fun in the great outdoors.
"We are so excited to be selected as the location for the first Nature Built playground of this kind and especially proud of the fact that kids from our community were able to help design it," said Josh Heimowitz, executive director of YMCA Camp Erdman. "Over the years, generations of Hawaii residents have been creating memories at YMCA's Camp Erdman and we are delighted to continue to expand the activities we offer."
Construction on the new playground will commence with a kickoff ceremony on Wednesday, June 3 at 9 a.m. On Wednesday, June 3 through Friday, June 5, volunteers will work on building the playground from 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. On Saturday, June 6, volunteers will gather at 9:30 a.m. and work until the playground’s completion in the afternoon. A dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held onsite at 3 p.m. A reception and dinner will follow for all volunteers involved with the project.
"As an Oahu resident and mom, I'm happy and humbled to be part of this project. Every child deserves a safe and fun place to play, just as I had growing up here," said Pam Omidyar, co-founder of Omidyar Network. "The KaBOOM! playground on the North Shore will also serve as a catalyst for teaching the next generation about sustainability and respect for our island home."
Additional contributors to the project include: Aloha United Way, Architects Hawaii LTD., Complete Tent Rental, Geico, HFM Food Service, Kokua Hawaii Foundation, Lost at Sea, Rotary Club of Honolulu, Sky Dive Hawaii, TR3EES, Turtle Bay Resort, Waialua Soda Works, Waimea Falls Grill and Y.Hata & Company.
YMCA of Honolulu/Camp H.R. Erdman
For 140 years, the YMCA of Honolulu has been a place where friends and neighbors come together to build strong communities by serving thousands of children, teens and adults. Programs offered include: before and after school care, youth sports, teen leadership programs, camp, substance abuse counseling and treatment, and health and wellness. The YMCA of Honolulu operates nine branches throughout Oahu.
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic, social, and political change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed more than $270 million to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple investment areas, including microfinance, property rights, government transparency, and social media. To learn more about Omidyar Network, please visit www.omidyar.com.
KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit 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, 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 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.