FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 17, 2017) —
National non-profit KaBOOM! (@kaboom) today awards 258 communities with a 2017 Playful City USA recognition. Playful City USA honors cities and towns across the country for putting the needs of families first so kids can learn, grow and develop important life skills. These communities are transforming ordinary places into playful spaces and using play as a solution to the challenges facing their residents.
The 2017 Playful City USA recognition includes family-friendly communities from Richmond, Virginia to Richmond, California that make it as easy as possible for kids to play. In total, these communities feature more than 14,000 safe and engaging playspaces that serve more than 4 million kids.
"We are thrilled to recognize these communities for putting kids first," said KaBOOM! CEO James Siegal. "The well-being of our communities starts with the well-being of our kids, and play is critical for them to thrive. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that all kids get the childhood they deserve filled with play."
Since 1996, KaBOOM! has been knocking down barriers to play for the kids who need it most by building community-inspired, state-of-the-art playgrounds and mobilizing cities to bring play into everyday spaces. The Playful City USA recognition, now in its 11th year, motivates local leaders to foster play opportunities for all kids, especially the 15 million who live in poverty. The program has inspired infrastructure investments, programs and policy changes in cities across the country.
As cities are becoming hotbeds for innovation, communities are creating inventive ways to attract and retain residents. Playful City USA honorees are taking bold action to ensure kids have great places to play – all with the ultimate goal of making play the easy choice for all kids, no matter where they live. In addition to the playground down the street, Playful City USA communities are turning grocery stores, vacant lots, crosswalks and sidewalks into opportunities for play.
While they vary in size and geography, these communities are all engaging their citizens to reimagine cities with kids in mind. Each community has found unique ways to integrate play as a solution to a number of urgent challenges plaguing our society in ways that benefit kids growing up in poverty.
To see the full list of Playful City USA communities and to learn more about making play the easy choice for kids, visit kaboom.org/playfulcityusa. You can also take part in the conversation with leaders across the country using #PLAYceforkids on Twitter and Facebook.
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.