FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON D.C. (March 16, 2009) —
Two-time “Dancing with the Stars” champion and Mercury Nashville recording artist Julianne Hough has partnered up with KaBOOM!, a national non-profit, to map and rate playspaces everywhere online. Once it has this comprehensive user-generated playground audit, KaBOOM! will know which areas of the country have a great place for kids to play every day and which areas fall short. Toward this end, Julianne will donate $1 to select charities every time someone uploads a new place to play (up to $100,000).
The challenge runs 100 days, from March 23 – June 30, or until Julianne gives away $100,000 to national non-profits that have teamed up with KaBOOM! for this project: YMCA of the USA, National Wildlife Federation, Shaping America’s Health, Jumpstart, America’s Promise Alliance and First Book. To participate, users go online to the KaBOOM! Playspace Finder (kaboom.org/playspacefinder) pick a great charity to earn money for, then post a picture they took of a place to play, and rate it. Julianne will then give the non-profit they selected $1 each time they load a new playspace to the map. In addition to benefiting charity, every playspace loaded counts as an entry in a sweepstakes to meet Julianne or win autographed merchandise. By using online technology to activate and engage individuals, the 100,000 Playspaces in 100 Days Campaign will alert communities of the importance of play, and motivate individuals to start taking action.
“In the U.S. childhood obesity numbers have tripled since I was little. Statisics say that nearly a third of our nations kids are overweight or well on their way. I have joined with KaBOOM to try and make sure that kids have a place to play and run around every day,” said Julianne. When complete, the KaBOOM! Playspace Finder will serve as a national audit of playspaces, allowing communities to evaluate how many there are, their quality, and how accessible they are.
Growing up in Utah, Julianne had a very active childhood. She and her siblings were always outside playing together as well as dancing and singing. She wants to help other kids have some of the same opportunities as she did.
To do something about the situation, Julianne teamed up with KaBOOM! to help them complete an online map of playgrounds, the KaBOOM! Playspace Finder. “I want to help parents know where all the great places are to play in their neighborhood,” Julianne said. Once 100,000 new playspaces are entered onto the KaBOOM! Playspace Finder, KaBOOM! will have a national map full of places to play, parents can see where to take their kids, and KaBOOM! can spot areas that need attention.
The KaBOOM! Playspace Finder is a Google-based map that currently shows more than 16,000 user-generated entries with photos, amenities, and ratings of places kids play. The KaBOOM! Playspace Finder includes all different sorts of places to play: playgrounds, athletic fields, ice rinks, basketball courts, skateparks, and swimming pools, even nature trails and community gardens.
Since 1995, KaBOOM! has constructed almost 1,600 playgrounds, skateparks, sports fields and ice rinks across North America. KaBOOM! also created the KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play.
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.