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 – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,700 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers and served 8.5 million kids. KaBOOM! creates great places to play, inspires communities to promote and support play, and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives. To learn why #playmatters, visit kaboom.org or join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.