FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 14, 2016) —
Sometimes play is the best medicine. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is announcing a partnership with the national non-profit organization KaBOOM! to make play more accessible to children visiting VA medical centers and VA Fisher Houses. KaBOOM! is one of a number of partnerships formed under the MyVA initiative, the largest transformation in VA's history, which focuses squarely on the needs of Veterans through customer service and strong community partnerships.
Under the agreement, KaBOOM! will provide their signature Imagination Playground™ and Rigamajigs to VA locations across the nation. These portable, scalable play systems create safe, fun-filled environments for children to play in.
KaBOOM! will work with VA to select sites across the country that have the greatest need for play spaces. VA medical centers and VA Fisher Houses, which are built by Fisher House Foundation to provide temporary accommodations for families of Veterans receiving treatment at a VA medical center or military hospital, have been identified as ideal locations for these play environments.
"When Veterans are dealing with a serious illness or injury, it can be incredibly stressful for their families, especially those with young children," said Secretary Bob McDonald. "Our partnership with KaBOOM! will enable us to use the simple art of play to help keep the children and families of Veterans happy and healthy. These types of partnerships are a great way for the VA to provide support for families – an important component of taking care of Veterans."
CarMax is the KaBOOM! corporate sponsor for this playground project. As a part of its ongoing multi-million dollar commitment to KaBOOM!, CarMax will build four playgrounds and provide 30 grants for Imagination Playgrounds™ and Rigamajigs to select VA medical centers, Fisher Houses and other organizations that serve Veterans and military families. It is expected that through this project, VA, KaBOOM! and CarMax will help reach 85,000 children over the next three years. The first donations were made to facilities located in Gainesville, Florida, and Salt Lake City, Utah.
"We are grateful to our Armed Forces who inspire us with their dedication to protecting our country," said James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!. "Through our partnership with VA, together we are honoring and showing commitment to Veterans and military families by encouraging play, particularly for kids who need it most. Creating play spaces in Fisher Houses and VA facilities will help ensure kids can experience balanced and active play so they can thrive and enjoy the childhood they deserve."
Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with its corporate partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,300 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers, and served 8.1 million children.
For more information about VA partnerships, visit MyVA Strategic Partnerships.
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 improve more than 17,000 playspaces, engage over 1.5 million volunteers and serve more than 11 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