NBC's "Parks & Recreation" is a comedy starring Amy Poehler (from "Saturday Night Live") as Leslie Knope, a parks and recreation official who wants to build a new playground.
Of course, we've always known that if Leslie would just check out KaBOOM!, we could help her get that playground built. Turns out that producers at "Parks and Recreation" had the same idea, and decided to feature KaBOOM! on the show.
On this episode, which aired Oct. 22, 2009, Leslie and her team visited the nearby city of Eagleton and the KaBOOM! build taking place there. At first, Leslie is skeptical that a playground can actually be built in one day, but as she witnesses the transformation, she catches the KaBOOM! spirit and becomes even more determined to get her playground built. “Parks & Recreation” featured KaBOOM! in the episode as part of NBC’s participation in the Entertainment Industry Foundations (EIF) drive to feature volunteering across all networks called “iParticipate.”
Thanks to NBC and the producers of “Parks & Recreation” for inviting us to be a part of the fun. We hope you enjoy the episode, and we hope that you take a moment to check out the many ways you can get involved.
Go Play!: Non-Profit Organization KaBOOM! Announces List of 93 “Playful City USA” Communities
Communities Across the Country Make Play a Priority Despite Economy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Parents have less disposable income for children’s play-related activities because of the economy and funding for Parks and Recreation departments nationwide continues to dwindle during a time when 82 percent of parents believe kids don’t spend enough time playing outside.
Despite these challenges, 93 communities across the nation have taken innovative approaches to make play a priority to ensure their children have the time and space they need to play. To honor cities and towns making this commitment to play, KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to bringing play back into children’s lives, named them Playful City USA communities.
In the third year of this annual program, 32 of 93 Playful City USA communities were repeat honorees from 2008, while 22 cities were cited for the third consecutive year. Thirty-nine new communities have joined others in making a commitment to children, including Honolulu, Indianapolis and San Antonio. These 93 communities created and implemented programs to positively impact childhood wellness, public safety and the quality of life.
Each of the 2009 Playful City USA communities demonstrated creative commitments to the cause of play in the areas of quantity, quality and access. Quality relates to the number of usable, open playspaces. Quality involves subjective factors that encourage repeated use and make playspaces engaging, exciting, interesting and fun. Access entails the ability to get to a playspace (roads, trails) and a lack of barriers to the playspace (cost, safety, traffic, locked gates, equity).
Playful City USA celebrates and highlights these unique initiatives developed by communities across the country. A primary goal of Playful City USA is to encourage cities and towns to share creative ideas, concepts and programs in an effort to increase play opportunities for children. City initiatives include:
Dothan, Ala. (pop. 65,447)
After incorporating the KaBOOM! community build model for the construction of a playground, the City decided to use this method exclusively for any future playgrounds built in Dothan. The community build model offers a great opportunity to involve neighborhoods, while saving significant costs on construction.
Indianapolis, Ind. (pop. 795,458)
The Indianapolis Parks and Recreation department is conducting a study that would involve converting abandoned housing and vacant lots and turning them into urban mini parks. This project will require that city department resources are combined to increase green spaces and remove abandoned housing, identify clusters of abandoned houses and vacant lots, identify potential mini park spaces, and host public meetings that would solicit the surrounding neighborhoods’ advice on the usage of these spaces.
Las Cruces, N.M. (pop. 86,268)
Las Cruces Public Schools launched a free program called Recess Before Lunch in 2007 to examine what benefits could result. After implementing the program, moving recess before lunch led to a significant improvement in healthy eating habits for the students, a reduction in food waste, and better focus in the classroom after lunch.
San Francisco, Calif. (pop. 808,976)
The San Francisco Neighborhood Parks Council (SFNPC) developed a Playground Report Card which analyzes and rates playspaces in San Francisco. The Report Card gave letter grades to all the playgrounds, with the San Francisco Parks and Recreation department and SFNPC then taking action by bringing all the failing parks up to standard.
Ankeny, Iowa (pop. 42,000)
As part of the Ankeny Comprehensive plan, the highest priority of Ankeny residents was to build a trail system within the community that connects to a regional trail system. The Ankeny to Woodward Trail Steering Committee secured a $1.75 million Vision Iowa grant to develop the 20 miles of trail and construct one of the world’s tallest and longest trail bridges with the project scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2009.
New York, N.Y. (pop. 8,310,212)
The New York City Parks and Recreation Department will break ground and revamp 221 playgrounds that require improvement throughout the City, while also targeting underdeveloped destination parks for each borough in 2009. This City is also working toward the creation of a public plaza in every community in partnership with non-profit groups, particularly in neighborhoods that lack open space.
The KaBOOM! vision is a great place to play within walking distance of every child. Playful City USA communities create best practices, like the ones above, to reach a similar goal. They serve as role models for other communities and prove that enhancing children’s well-being by increasing the opportunity for play is an attainable goal for every community.
“Our country is facing two monumental deficits: a lack of unstructured play among children and a lack of resources to address this very issue,” said Darell Hammond, KaBOOM! CEO and Co-founder. “These 93 communities took a stand and determined that the future of their community—their children—deserve a commitment to the cause of play. This is an investment in the future, not an expenditure and cities and towns across the country can replicate initiatives from these Playful City USA communities so that they too can bring play back into the lives of their children.”
2009 Playful City USA Communities
Baldwin Park, Calif.
Casa Grande, Ariz.
Commerce City, Colo.
Coral Gables, Fla.
Corpus Christi, Texas
Delray Beach, Fla.
#Grand Prairie, Texas
#Green River, Wyo.
#La Mesa, Calif.
*Lake Charles, La.
*Lake Worth, Fla.
Las Cruces, N.M.
#Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.
#Mercer Island, Wash.
Miami Lakes, Fla.
*New Lenox, Ill.
New Port Richey, Fla.
*New Roads, La.
#New York City, N.Y.
Niagara Falls, N.Y.
#Palm Bay, Fla.
#Safety Harbor, Fla.
#St. Petersburg, Fla.
San Antonio, Texas
San Bernardino, Calif.
*San Francisco, Calif.
Takoma Park, Md.
#West Palm Beach, Fla.
* Three-time honoree
# Two-time honoree
2009 Playful City USA Communities by State:
9: Arizona, California
5: North Carolina
4: Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland
3: Illinois, Ohio, Washington
2: Alabama, Hawaii, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wyoming
1: Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina
Applications for 2010 Playful City USA recognition will be available beginning in the fall of 2009.
The KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play, including the Playful City USA program, is made possible via the support of the Omidyar Network.
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, 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.
Check out this great video of KaBOOM! staffer Lisa Attman-Palmer being interviewed by Anne Pleshette Murphy on ABC News!
Here are some stories about our build with CaliforniaVolunteers, First Lady Michelle Obama, and First Lady Maria Shriver June 22!
I don't get to feature 50 Cent's blog very often (or ever, really), but there's a first time for everything! Check out his feature on Rev Run helping to build a playground with us this week: Rev Run, Wife Justine pitch in to help build playground
More KaBOOM! in the news:
Play outside to help build a playground (Time Out New York Kids)
Play in the news:
Children ready for new playground (RGJ.com)
Playground makeover could start next week (Lebanon Daily News)
Bland playground a dirty mess (Queens Chronicle)
Tiki takes to Hell’s Kitchen playground (Chelsea Now)
Whittier PTA raising money for playground (Great Falls Tribune)
In Lower Manhattan, the Burling Slip project - a joint effort between NYC Department of Parks and Recreation and the Rockwell Group - was officially kicked off May 7 with the celebration of the ground-breaking for the first site-specific Imagination Playground™ in Burling Slip at South Street Seaport!
Our KaBOOM! CEO and COO were there celebrating with our friends from NYC Parks and Recreation and the Rockwell Group, along with 150 adults and 75 kids.
Here's a snippet from the press release:
Imagination Playground is the product of over five years of David Rockwell’s extensive research on play and playgrounds. It is a progressive concept in children’s play that offers a rich environment of diverse materials that encourage unstructured, child-directed “free play,” where children determine their own activities, alone and with their peers. After developing Imagination Playground, Rockwell Group approached the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, who collaborated to realize this new play space at Burling Slip in lower Manhattan.
By Lynne Jensen
New Orleans Times-Picayune
Jan. 22, 2009
Thanks to KaBOOM!, a nonprofit organization that helps communities build playgrounds, children living Uptown, downtown, in eastern New Orleans and along the lakefront are enjoying refurbished play spots in areas that were devastated after Hurricane Katrina.
Shortly after Katrina and Rita ravaged the Gulf Coast, KaBOOM! launched Operation Playground with a mission of building 100 playgrounds in the region.
Today, Operation REACH and The Chrysler Foundation are joining with KaBOOM! to build a newly designed playground at The Knowledge Garden Child Development Center at 2115 Carondelet St., which serves hundreds of children.
We here at KaBOOM! love bloggers...especially these fantastic folks this week!
KaBOOM in Vancleave
Design. Build. Learn. Repeat.
Nov. 7, 2008
"After working with KaBOOM! on a shade structure in North Gulfport, I was asked to lead another tile project in Vancleave, MS, a mostly rural community about 30 minutes east and north of Biloxi. This KaBOOM! build was scheduled for October 25th, “Make A Difference Day”, and Hands On wanted to help out by using painted tiles to beautify part of the park."
Banana Smoothie Blog
Nov. 12, 2008
"So, I was looking through a dessert book that had brownies with special Christmas tins that you could get them shipped and gift wrapped in, and there was an insert within the magazine that had an ad for a nonprofit organization called KaBoom. Who would have thought that a nonprofit organization would be in a brownie magazine? The magazine is called Cheryl & Co. I don’t know if any of your have heard of them or not, but their brownies are delicious!"
Support the KaBOOM! Playspace Finder!
Nov. 13, 2008
"Help our ServiceNation partners at KaBOOM! win recognition for their great playspace finder."
Places to Play
Nov. 12, 2008
"As a mom, I do my best to make sure my kids play outside every day. They’re better behaved, better able to focus, and just generally happier, all of which make my life easier. So when the kids are bored with our neighborhood playgrounds, or when we’re visiting relatives, I go online to the KaBOOM! Playspace Finder to see what playgrounds are in the area."
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]
Shreveport native is one of NBA's most giving
By Jason Pugh
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]