FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE, MD (September 24, 2013) —
As municipal and thought leaders from around the country gather in Baltimore to chart a path to ensure all children get the play they need to thrive, one such leader, Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, will be awarded the inaugural Playful City USA Leadership Award for his substantial investments in play.
"Cities are critical drivers for achieving play outcomes and most play-focused infrastructure investment, policies and programming happen at the local level. That is why we give special recognition to municipal leaders who prioritize play," said Darell Hammond, Founder and CEO of KaBOOM!, at the 2013 Playful City USA Leaders' Summit, sponsored by the Humana Foundation. "I am delighted to recognize Mayor Rahm Emanuel for championing play throughout the great city of Chicago, with the first Playful City USA Leadership Award."
"Thank you KaBOOM! and Humana for this honor. Five years from now, every child in the City of Chicago will be within a seven minute walk from a new park in our city," said Emanuel in a video address to the crowd. "In addition to what we're doing with our playgrounds and parks throughout our city, we added an hour an 15 minutes to every school day, and we also added two weeks to every school year," he continued. "Our kids no longer have to choose reading or recess."
"Through multiple investments, Chicago is increasing access to playgrounds and other play spaces, while also dedicating more time for kids to play, both in and out of school," continued Hammond. "Mayor Emanuel is working in partnership with agencies, foundations, corporations, and other key stakeholders, to give all children in Chicago the childhood they deserve, and is a shining example and inspiration to others."
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – especially those living in poverty – the childhood they deserve through great, safe places to play. KaBOOM! inspires communities to make play the easy choice and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of PLAYces. KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build or restore more than 17,000 playspaces, engaged more than 1.5 million volunteers and served over 9 million kids. To learn why play matters for all kids, visit kaboom.org and join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom, facebook.com/kaboom, and instagram.com/kaboom. #playmatters #PLAYceforKids