Recognizing KABOOM! Volunteers Link copied!

April 1, 2024


April is National Volunteer Month, a time to recognize the volunteers who devote their time, skill, and energy to creating stronger communities. At KABOOM!, we are grateful for our volunteers who help transform and build playspaces that spark joy and provide a range of physical, mental, social-emotional, and developmental benefits for kids and the larger community.

While most KABOOM! volunteers join us on a playground build, there are a variety of ways volunteers support our mission to end playspace inequity. Here are some inspiring stories from recent KABOOM! volunteers.

As an avid hockey fan, Ernie Fox drove 115 miles to volunteer at a playground build with the Anaheim Ducks at Peter Marshall Park in Anaheim, CA. Ernie worked for several days assembling slides, pouring concrete, and being the all-around muscle, but as he’ll tell you, he took away more than he gave. Volunteering with KABOOM! to be a therapeutic experience.

“Being part of this playground has shown me that as I give something away – my time, my energy, my service – I get an abundance of knowledge, friendships, encouragements, smiles, and love in return.”

Evelyn Alayon in Brockton, MA raised her older kids without access to an outdoor community space, but now watches her 5-year-old enjoy the playground she helped build. And it’s not just the kids that benefit from this space – “Parents didn’t have a space to commune and grow relationships because there is no community room or community space. This playground was immediately used once it was opened for play… and working parents have a place to come together and meet after work while the children play.”

Nia Brown, who worked with her employer to provide lunch for volunteers at a recent build, knew KABOOM! sounded familiar. As it turns out, her mom volunteered at several KABOOM! playground builds in Louisiana post-Hurricane Katrina as part of Operation Playground. “My mother was always very active in our community, so when opportunities presented themselves to be more involved, she jumped on them without hesitation.” Even 20+ years later, Nia can still recall the impact the playground had on her neighborhood. “I feel as though having the playground truly allowed everyone in my neighborhood to finally connect.”

Gerald Marcel, who has volunteered at twelve playspace builds with the Fort Worth Independent School District over the past two years, saw the immediate impact of his work. “When we did the builds while the children were in school, they watched us work any time they could – walking to and from school, peering out of school windows, and even parading around the build site during the school day with their teachers. They could hardly wait to be able to play on the new equipment.” At these builds, Gerald met Adriana Calderon Garcia, a KABOOM! volunteer turned employee, who now helps build playspaces throughout Texas.