FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A broken sidewalk reimagined as an illuminated exercise track in Detroit. A network of playable planters, benches and bike racks erected in downtown Philadelphia. An iconic neighborhood step street transformed into a colorful play center in the Bronx.
Today, KaBOOM! announced a list of 50 winning organizations that will receive funding to help make play easy, available and fun for kids and families in cities across the country. The Play Everywhere Challenge, a $1 million national competition, is awarding innovative solutions to promote play in unexpected places – sidewalks, vacant lots, bus stops, laundromats and beyond – especially in communities where families struggle to make ends meet.
The Challenge was hosted by KaBOOM!, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Target, Playworld, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The winning projects were selected by a Blue Ribbon panel of experts, including leaders from the business, nonprofit, urban planning and arts sectors, who helped identify ideas that reflect innovative, replicable and fun ways to help more kids and families fit play into their everyday lives.
“We’re thrilled with the number and quality of applications we received, representing cities large and small across the country,” said James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!.
Play is vital to healthy childhood development. It is easy to see the physical benefits of play when kids are skipping, jumping, sliding, and swinging. Play is also how kids make friends, build strong bonds with caring adults, and learn problem-solving, conflict resolution and creativity. Evidence shows that missing out on the chance to play puts kids at risk for challenges ranging from obesity to anxiety to trouble adjusting in school. This unique, national, public-private initiative rallied applicants who share the goal of promoting daily play as key to ensuring the health and success of America's kids.
“Play is the essence of childhood,” said Siegal. “But it is often difficult to squeeze into the day because parents are juggling too many demands or don’t have safe places for their kids to go. We are excited to support and share the amazing PLAYces dreamed up by our 50 winners. We are confident that our winners will inspire city leaders around the country to transform their sidewalks, vacant lots, bus stops, and more with their own innovative solutions that give all kids the childhood they deserve filled with play.”
A gallery of winning projects spanning the country can be found at http://kaboom.org/playeverywhere.
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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.