FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON D.C. (October 23, 2017) —
This past week, KaBOOM!, the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids the childhood they deserve through great, safe places to play, hosted a national celebration to spotlight the critical role of play for all kids in collaboration with cities across the country.
On Wednesday, October 18, local residents from Ward 8 Congress Heights joined KaBOOM! and THEARC to build the 3,000th playground in KaBOOM! history. THEARC and community members spent months preparing, and the kids designed the playground itself.
On Saturday, October 21, community members came together to celebrate PLAYce for Kids Day, and highlight the importance of play for kids and communities. The celebration was kicked off by Mayor Muriel Bowser, who officially proclaimed the day annual PLAYce for Kids Day. The Washington Wizards hosted a basketball clinic, WKYS 93.9 DJs entertained the kids and plenty of other activities such as Zumba, face painting and the National Symphony Orchestra's instrument petting zoo took place throughout the day. The highlight was the unveiling of the brand new, state-of-the-art playground.
"Providing children with safe and innovative spaces to play is crucial to their upbringing and a healthy lifestyle," said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. "With the support of KaBOOM! and THEARC, nearly 37,000 kids east of the Anacostia River will have an exceptional, community-built playspace, promoting healthy habits and intellectually stimulating activity for generations to come."
Across the country, seven other communities joined KaBOOM! by celebrating their own PLAYce for Kids Day through events and social media campaigns, including: Missoula, MT; La Mesa, CA; Dothan, AL; Geneva, NY; Hernando, MS; Brownsville, TX; and, Detroit, MI. From a soapbox derby to a corn hole tournament, cities participated in various ways and celebrated the importance of bringing play to all kids.
"The kids east of the Anacostia River don't always have access to the same types of playspaces as other kids in D.C.," said Rahsaan Bernard, Executive Director of THEARC. "Providing them with this unique playground ensures they get the play they need to be productive and healthy. And, because it was built by the local community – and designed by the kids who will use it – it is already a cherished space."
The nationwide events symbolize a renewed commitment to providing all kids with more opportunities to get the play they need to grow up healthy, and ready for life.
"We know kids need play to be happy, healthy and resilient," said James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!. "For the past 22 years, we've made good progress in giving kids the opportunity to play. We will use the energy of celebrating this milestone to accelerate our efforts to help cities across the country put kids first by creating great, safe and engaging PLAYces for kids. Together with wonderful public, private and philanthropic partners, we can ensure that all kids get the play-filled childhood they deserve."
KaBOOM! playgrounds have been created with the support from thousands of funding and community partners across the country. Special thank you to national partners: Foresters Financial, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, The CarMax Foundation, Target, The Walt Disney Company, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Bezos Family Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for their on-going support and commitment to creating great, safe playspaces for all kids. Thank you to the many donors who supported our 3,000th playground project, including Delta Airlines.
Learn more about the 3,000th playground build and PLAYce for Kids Day.
The Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC) is a project of Building Bridges Across the River, a nonprofit organization. THEARC is a $60MM, 200,000 square-foot campus located near the neighborhoods of Congress Heights and Parklands. Since 2005, THEARC has provided children and adults living east of the Anacostia River access to high-quality yet low-cost or free programs and services in the fields of education, music, art, dance, health and social services. THEARC is home to the largest theater east of the Anacostia River, THEARC Theater and a two-acre urban farm known as THEARC Farm.
THEARC East is home to: Building Bridges Across the River (managing nonprofit), Artreach, Boys & Girls Club Greater Washington, Children’s National Health System: Children’s Health Project of DC, Covenant House Washington, Levine Music, The Washington Ballet, The Washington School for Girls, Trinity Washington University and coming soon, DC Central Kitchen.
THEARC West (coming fall 2017) will be home to: AppleTree Institute, Bishop Walker School for Boys, Children’s National Health System, David Lynch Foundation and The Phillips Collection. THEARC West will also feature a black box theater.
About Building Bridges Across the River
Building Bridges Across the River (BBAR) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the providing Ward 7 and Ward 8 children and adults to access to quality programs and services. BBAR projects include the 11th Street Bridge Park, THEARC Farm, THEARC Theater and the Skyland Workforce Center.
Rahsaan Bernard is BBAR's executive director.
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.