KaBOOM! News • page 114

December 10, 2007 KaBOOM!

A Seven-Year-Old Makes a Difference

WASHINGTON, DC - A young girl has done something no one else has ever done for a D.C. based non-profit group that builds playgrounds all across the county.

Kamilah Bryant was five years old when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast; a kindergarten student too young to even get a weekly allowance. But like most kids, she had a box of crayons and a pad of paper and that was enough to help her get to work and help hurricane victims get to play.

Kamilah said, "my great-grandmother was telling me about Katrina kids, and I thought I could make more so they could have their stuff back."

She began folding fans and honing a sales pitch. She started selling them at her church last year and then moved on to her community. "I selled them for $1 and people game me $20's and $5's and $10's." She said business is in her blood. "Well, I'm pretty good at business because my dad is a CPA."

Other tidbits from the article:

  • Kamilah ultimately raised $1,000.

LOS ANGELES, CA - Never has the link between poverty and child obesity been more apparent.

A new report from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health shows that the richest cities with the most public open space have the lowest rates of obese children. By contrast, cities with larger low-income populations, such as Hawthorne, Lawndale, Carson and Gardena, have more overweight kids.

"Poverty is one of the determinants of obesity, there's no question about that for a whole bunch of reasons," said Dr. Jonathon Fielding, the county's director of public health and lead medical officer.

For the first time, the county used information on obesity rates from the California Department of Education and compared it to a number of factors that contribute to economic hardship, such as unemployment rates, education levels and households that earn less than the federal poverty line. The report also included the amount of park and recreation space within each of 128 cities in the greater Los Angeles area.

Read more about the study here.

Other tidbits from the article:

  • Manhattan Beach, one of the most affluent cities in the South Bay had only 4 percent of children who meet the criteria for obesity. It also had one of the highest ratios of park area per capita - 5.7 acres per 1,000 residents.
  • The city of Lawndale had one of the lowest ratios of park space - 0.6 acres per 1,000 residents - and one of the highest child-obesity rates of 27 percent.Lawndale officials hope to double the city's park space next year with the opening of the half-acre Hopper Park on 162nd Street, and officials have set aside $1 million for the purchase of more land in the future.
  • The county has no formal authority over what cities do, but officials made several recommendations: Create walkable and bikable pathways, establish safe routes to schools so that parents don't have to drive children, and recognize efforts by groups that support healthy lifestyles. They also suggested limiting the number of fast food restaurants in specific areas, and have schools offer healthier lunches and creative physical education.

November 05, 2007 KaBOOM!

NBA Stepping Up to Help New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, LA - The National Basketball Association today will announce a season-long, leaguewide community service program aimed at boosting the rebuilding effort in New Orleans in a year when the league plans to hold its marquee event, the 2008 All-Star Game, in the city.

The official announcement is expected to be made by NBA Commissioner David Stern in a news conference at Walter L. Cohen High School at 12:30 p.m. today, the same day the Hornets tip off the 2007-2008 regular season with a game against the Sacramento Kings at the New Orleans Arena.

"This program says that we're very committed to helping them rebuild and to the rebirth of the Crescent City," said Bob Lanier, a special assistant to the NBA commissioner. "The NBA truly cares. It's not just a slogan. We're committed to being difference-makers around the world."

The program will culminate with the first NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service on Friday, Feb. 15, an event in which more than 2,500 members of the league's representatives, including players, coaches, executives, media members and sponsors, will participate in daylong community service activities. The event will help tip off All-Star weekend in the city. The NBA All-Star Game will be played at New Orleans Arena on Sunday, Feb. 17.

Bosses try new ways to skip misfit hires

By Ellen Simon
Boston Globe
November 5, 2007

NEW YORK --A resume and a brief job interview can't answer the question that matters most to a new hire's co-workers: Is this person an absolute pain?

Despite a labor shortage in many sectors, some employers are pickier than ever about whom they hire. Businesses in fields where jobs are highly coveted -- or just sound like fun -- are stepping up efforts to weed out people who might have the right credentials but the wrong personality.

Call it the "plays well with others" factor.


At KaBoom, a nonprofit that builds playgrounds, the board was hammering co-founder and CEO Darell Hammond four years ago over the organization's high employee turnover.

"I rationalized that they were on the road too much, when in reality, it was the wrong fit in the wrong role," he said.

He started thinking about who left and why, then focused on the characteristics of workers who stayed. The list of traits: Can do, will do, team fit, damn quick and damn smart.

His team kept a closer eye on job applicants in the reception area, which is set up as a playground, to see how they acted around playground equipment.

"If you're early, you may have to sit on a swing or the bottom of a slide," Hammond said. People who stand with a tight grip on their briefcases instead of sitting on the playground equipment aren't asked back.


All 2008 100 Best Communities for Young People Winners Eligible for Playground Prize

WASHINGTON, DC—KABOOM!, a national non-profit that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America, today announced at the America’s Promise Alliance’s (the Alliance) 100 Best Communities for Young People National Forum in Washington, DC that the two organizations will team together to give a brand new community-built playground—valued at $70,000—to one of the Alliance’s 2008 100 Best Communities for Young People (100 Best). To qualify for the new playground, communities must be named a 2008 100 Best and a 2008 Playful City USA as part of the KABOOM! National Campaign for Play.

“100 Best and Playful City USA both honor those American communities who are putting their young people first,” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, president and CEO of the America’s Promise Alliance. “That’s why we’re pleased to partner with KaBOOM! to further reward one of these communities with a new playground because by providing a safe place for children to gather we are one step closer to helping them succeed.”

“At KaBOOM! we believe that a great community is one that makes children and time for play a priority,” said Darell Hammond, CEO and co-founder of KABOOM! "Through play, children not only get exercise but build character and learn how to work with others. By awarding one of the Alliance’s 100 Best communities a new playground we’re helping to make one of the best communities even better.”

100 Best is an annual competition where the Alliance with its partner Capital One, identify those 100 outstanding communities across America that are the best places for young people to live and grow up in. Playful City USA is a national recognition program honoring cities and towns across the nation that have created an agenda to bring play back into the lives of all their children.

The 2008 100 Best application process is open from August 1, 2007 through Friday November 2, 2007.

To learn more about the national search for the 100 Best Communities for Young People visit: www.americaspromise.org/100best. Applications for the 2008 Playful City USA program are available at: www.kaboom.org/playfulcityusa.


About the America’s Promise Alliance
America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s leader in forging a strong and effective partnership alliance comprised of corporations, nonprofit organizations, foundations, policymakers, advocacy and faith groups committed to ensuring that children receive the fundamental resources - the Five Promises – they need to lead successful, healthy and productive lives and build a stronger society. Building on the legacy of our founder General Colin Powell, the Alliance believes the success of our children is grounded in experiencing the Five Promises - caring adults; safe place; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others - at home, in school and in the community. For more information on America’s Promise Alliance visit: www.americaspromise.org.

About KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since 1995, KaBOOM! has used its innovative community-build model to bring together business and community interests to construct more than 1,300 new playgrounds, skateparks, sports fields and ice rinks across North America. KaBOOM! also offers a variety of resources, including an online community, regional and national trainings, grants, publications and the KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play, which includes Playful City USA and the Playmaker Network – a national network of individual advocates for play. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago, Atlanta and San Mateo, CA. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.

September 10, 2007 KaBOOM!

Actress Jennie Garth Takes Time for KaBOOM!

When actress Jennie Garth was a child, she wasn't completely a girly-girl.

"I was a tomboy," she told The ShowBuzz, "but I was still always really feminine. I loved horses and animals; riding my bike outside. I did a lot of playing outside, which is something I think kids today are lacking."

Garth, who has three children of her own, says it's important for kids to have a place to play outside. That's why she's teaming up with the non-profit organization KaBOOM! to help build playgrounds around the country.

"Yesterday I took two of my daughters to South Los Angeles, and in the morning when we started there was just a big empty open field in the back of this apartment building," she said. "By the end of the day, there was this awesome fun playground for kids to play in that is safe and protected and their parents can watch them play."

Playground Pioneers Complete the 50th Playground Build in the Gulf Coast

For Immediate Release

Washington, DC, May 16, 2007 –On May 21, the students at Drew Elementary School in New Orleans will no longer have to call the broken asphalt behind the school their playground. Instead, they will be able to swing, jump and slide on a brightly-colored, state-of-the-art custom playground built in just one day by more than 300 volunteers. The new playground is the 50th built in the Gulf Coast by the nonprofit organization KaBOOM! as part of its Operation Playground initiative to build 100 playgrounds in communities affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

“KaBOOM! is committed to bringing play back to the Gulf Coast, one playground at a time. Every child deserves a place to run, jump, have fun and just be a kid. We are proud to reach this important milestone and we couldn’t have done it without incredible support from our partners. There is so much more work to do, though, to ensure there is a great place to play within walking distance of every child in the Gulf Coast,” said KaBOOM! CEO and co-founder Darell Hammond.

Since launching Operation Playground in December 2005, KaBOOM! has raised $3.7M to build 50 playspaces in Gulf Coast communities, providing more than 17,500 Gulf Coast children with a great places to play. To date, Operation Playground has mobilized over 25,000 volunteers from across the country. The first 50 Operation Playground projects have included the building of 10 playgrounds in four days with partners The Home Depot and Playworld Systems Inc. during the Hurricane Katrina Anniversary. This February, KaBOOM! partnered with Fannie Mae to build six playgrounds in one day at elementary schools across New Orleans. Other partners contributing assets for three or more playgrounds in the Gulf Coast include Jim Barksdale, ING DIRECT and AmeriCares.

Each KaBOOM! playground is designed by the children who will use it, planned by local residents and built entirely by volunteers. The playground at Drew Elementary School is being built at the behest of the popular daytime television show Live with Regis and Kelly, which initiated the project in conjunction with the show’s visit to the area. Planning for the project began in March when students, parents and school staff met with organizers from KaBOOM! and representatives from the show to design their dream playground. Since then, a planning committee made up of teachers, parents and representatives from KaBOOM! and Live with Regis and Kelly have met weekly to plan the playground build as well as volunteer recruitment, site preparation and safety/logistics. The hard work will pay off on May 21 and for years to come as Drew Elementary students enjoy their new playground.

“We thank KaBOOM! for its initiative in rebuilding local playgrounds in New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast. KaBOOM! is helping to strengthen our New Orleans Recreation Department one playground at a time,” said Mayor C. Ray Nagin. “Supporting the positive development of our youth is critical to our city’s recovery.”

KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Over the past decade, KaBOOM! has used its innovative community-build model to bring together business and community interests to construct more than 1,100 new playgrounds, skateparks, sports fields and ice rinks across North America. KaBOOM! also offers a variety of resources, including a web site and online community, regional and national trainings, grants and publications for communities that wish to plan a new playspace on their own. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago, Atlanta and San Mateo, CA. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.

KaBOOM! is pleased to announce that on May 21, we will celebrate our 50th Operation Playground build in partnership with LIVE with Regis and Kelly and Disney-ABC Domestic Television at Drew Elementary in New Orleans, LA! Since its launch in December 2005, Operation Playground has provided more than 17,500 Gulf Coast children with great places to play thanks to the participation and leadership of more than 25,000 volunteers. We've accomplished a lot, but there is still much more work to be done! Help KaBOOM! achieve our goal to provide every child with a safe place to play within walking distance.

By Maria Montoya, The Times-Picayune

Bare. Empty. Boring.

That's how some of the fifth-graders of Medard H. Nelson UNO Charter School described the playground on their St. Bernard Avenue campus. Not that many of the students got to spend much time playing there pre-Katrina. They had a mere two days at the school before it was submerged in floodwater.

Earlier this summer, Nelson's principal, Ava Lee, got word that her school was chosen to be the site of an Operation Playground building project. A two-year initiative of the national nonprofit KaBOOM! to build 100 playgrounds in communities affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Operation Playground is committed to bringing play back to the Gulf Coast.

Alliance for a Healthier Generation Healthy Schools Forum Gives Educators Tools to Transform School Health Environments
President Bill Clinton and American Heart Association Announce criteria to help schools promote healthy lifestyles among students and staff

Little Rock, July 31 – President Bill Clinton addressed representatives from 170 schools from across the country today at the first ever Alliance for a Healthier Generation Healthy Schools Forum. 202 schools from 12 states, including many schools where children are most at risk for obesity, are part of the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program pilot year and will receive hands on technical support to make their school healthier.

President Clinton encouraged participants to be agents of change in their communities and gave clear guidance to schools nationwide about how to create healthy environments for their students and staff by announcing the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Criteria. The forum, which is being held at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark., is being sponsored by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation – a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation. The Forum marks the official launch of the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program.

“I am thrilled to be here today with members of these schools who are willing to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work of making their schools healthier places for their children to learn,” said President Bill Clinton. “ I believe these standards can be a great step forward in shaping the health, education, and well-being of the next generation and they will encourage more and more schools to provide healthy environments for the millions of students in America’s schools today. Thank you all for coming and I look forward to working with all of you.”

To address the root causes of childhood obesity, the Alliance recognizes not just the vital role played by nutrition, but also the critical need for environments like playgrounds that encourage kids to be physically active. That is why after announcing the Healthy Schools Criteria, President Clinton announced a new partnership with KaBOOM!, a nonprofit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America and which will mobilize communities to build new playgrounds in a number of our pilot schools across the country.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, announced the Healthy Schools Program in February, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Healthy Schools Program is designed to effect real change in schools through a criteria based recognition program that rewards schools for creating a healthier place for students to learn. The criteria announced by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation today outline standards that address food offerings in school cafeterias and competitive foods, physical activity during and after the school day, physical education and health education and staff wellness programs. Schools across the country can apply for recognition at the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum levels.

A key component of the Healthy Schools Program is the provision of support and assistance to schools striving to meet the criteria. The Forum is the first time the schools participating in the support portion of the program, will be publicly announced. More than 200 schools from 12 states are currently enrolled in the pilot and will receive direct assistance from the Alliance to help them assess their current school environment, develop action plans and implement changes that will make their school environments healthier.

In this first year, the program is focusing on schools whose student population, based on specific socio-economic and demographic factors, is most at risk for obesity. Ironically, these children are often the last to receive help and interventions from programs like the Healthy School Program because they are the most difficult to reach. By implementing the Healthy Schools Program first in at-risk schools, and testing the program in the most challenging environments, it is expected that the program will achieve long-term success across all student populations.

“What makes the Healthy Schools Program stand out is its hands-on approach to helping schools gain recognition,” said Dr. Raymond Gibbons, president of the American Heart Association. “We aren’t just releasing a set of criteria and expecting schools to reach those goals on their own, but we are giving them support along the way. In addition, the program is different from other school health efforts in that it recognizes achievements around broader, school-wide change, rather than just one aspect of health such as physical activity or nutrition.”

The Forum provides participants with opportunities to learn skills that will help them change the environments in their schools to better promote health and wellness among students and staff. Keynote speakers include President Clinton, Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher and Dr. Howell Wechsler, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Division of Adolescent and School Health.

The Alliance has partnered with Governor Mike Huckabee to serve in a leadership capacity for the organization. Gov. Huckabee will address Forum participants on Aug. 1.

“I’m pleased to be able to address the inaugural Healthy Schools Forum,” said Governor Mike Huckabee. “The schools in this room have committed to building a healthier environment for their students. I’m glad that with the technical help and healthy schools criteria announced at this forum,, we will be able to produce real, on the ground change in these schools, helping to fight childhood obesity and create a healthier generation.”

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provided the initial grant to support the Healthy Schools Program.

“School is where our children spend their days and where they learn habits that stay with them for life,” said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “The schools that are taking part in the first year of the program will help us write the lesson plan to improve health for millions of children.”

Making changes in the school environment is one strategy in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s comprehensive effort to reduce childhood obesity across the nation. The Alliance has also partnered with the number one kids’ television network Nickelodeon on the Let’s Just Play Go Healthy Challenge – an on-air, online and grassroots effort to mobilize kids to adopt healthy lifestyles. To date, over 100,000 kids have pledged to Go Healthy as a result of the campaign.

Recently, the Alliance and the nation’s largest beverage companies announced new guidelines that will help schools provide lower calorie and more nutritious beverage to students. These guidelines are part of the Healthy School Program criteria. The Alliance hopes that its work with the beverage industry sets the stage for working with other industries that can help schools make healthy choices easier for students.

As the new school year begins, all schools nationwide can apply for recognition and receive online tools and resources by going to www.HealthierGeneration.org. The Alliances Healthy School Builder will help schools determine if they qualify for recognition and will provide actionable steps to help them reach the various award levels. The Healthy School Builder will be available on Aug. 11.

The event is held in cooperation with the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, with many of the events taking place at the school.


About The Alliance for a Healthier Generation:
The Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association partnered in May 2005 to create a new generation of healthy Americans by addressing one of the nation’s leading public health threats –- childhood obesity. The Alliance focuses on preventing childhood obesity and creating healthier lifestyles for all children.

The Alliance targets several areas that will spark change and slow the increasing rates of childhood obesity in the U.S. and encourage healthier lifestyles for young people. The effort will focus on four key areas: industry; schools, healthcare professionals and kids. For more information visit www.HealthierGeneration.org