KaBOOM! News • page 109

Architect David Rockwell, in Partnership with KaBOOM!, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and Local Officials Present an Expandable Collection of Imagination Playground™’s Signature Loose Parts to Encourage Creative, Collaborative Kids’ Play

On Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 12pm, architect David Rockwell of Rockwell Group, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, KaBOOM! CEO and co-founder Darell Hammond, Brooklyn Councilman Charles Barron and other local dignitaries will unveil the first-ever Imagination Playground™ in a BOX – a new children’s play space at the Brownsville Recreation Center playground, located at Linden Boulevard between Mother Gaston Boulevard and Christopher Street in Brooklyn, NY. Sixty children from the Brownsville Summer Camp will be on hand to see the introduction of their new play space and of course, to play! This installation is funded by KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to bringing play back into the lives of children, as part of their mission to ensure that every child has access to a great place to play within walking distance. Councilman Barron has been working extensively to transform the Brownsville Recreational Center and its adjacent park into a vibrant, new area for neighborhood children.

“It’s so exciting to see the concept of creative play actually become a reality in New York,” said David Rockwell, founder and CEO of Rockwell Group. We are incredibly grateful to KaBOOM!, the New York City Parks & Recreation Department, and Brownsville’s local officials for working with us to make these play opportunities available to the children in this community and beyond.”

Learn more about KaBOOM! and Imagination Playground™.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization that empowers communities to build playgrounds, and CNN announced an agreement to promote play as part of an active lifestyle for children.

KaBOOM!, which has directly facilitated the building of more than 1,400 playspaces across North America since its inception in 1995, will join with CNN and Cox Communications to build a playground at Pontiff Park in New Orleans in just one day on June 28  that will provide more than 10,000 children with a great place to play. CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta will participate in the build, which will be covered as part of CNN’s Fit Nation programming, a multi-platform initiative to stop obesity.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with CNN in this endeavor,” KaBOOM! CEO and co-founder Darell Hammond said. “We’re optimistic that promoting healthy and active lifestyles with CNN will produce positive change on multiple fronts. There’s no question that increasing the amount of time children play on a playground is a critical component to our goal of improving fitness and health.”

The build will be featured on CNN’s House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a program dedicated to the latest health and medical developments and airs on Saturdays and Sundays from 7:30 to 8 a.m. (CT), as well as Fit Nation segments across the network’s properties. The playground build also marks the first CNN Fit Nation activity in 2008. CNN’s Fit Nation initiative began in 2006 as an ongoing multi-platform initiative to stop obesity and encourage healthier lifestyles. Over the past two years, Fit Nation and Gupta have traveled across the country engaging people in their own communities to get more active and develop local programs to meet the challenges of being overweight.

“I had the opportunity to see the destruction Katrina caused first-hand while I was reporting from New Orleans after the hurricane,” Gupta said. “I’m glad that Fit Nation can contribute to the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast region by creating a space for the community to use in achieving an active lifestyle.”

Gupta is chief medical correspondent for the health and medical unit at CNN. Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon and an assistant professor of neurosurgery, plays an integral role in the network’s medical coverage, which includes American Morning, the weekend show House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and coverage of breaking medical news. Based in Atlanta, he also co-hosts Accent Health for Turner Private Networks, contributes health news stories to CNN.com, writes a column for TIME magazine, is a contributor to CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. In 2007, Gupta’s first book, Chasing Life: New Discoveries in the Search for Immortality to Help You Age Less Today, became a national bestseller.   
About KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is a national non-profit 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 1,400 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 and San Mateo, Calif.   For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.

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Lieberman, hospice owner win volunteerism awards
Associated Press
June 18, 2008

Sen. Joseph Lieberman and Nancy Collins, a Mississippi woman who established a rural hospice offering physical and religious care to the terminally ill, were among more than a dozen recipients Tuesday of the Jefferson Awards, given for national and local public service.


Other winners during Tuesday's celebration dinner at Washington's Union Station:

Public service by a private citizen: Retired District of Columbia police detective Edward Michael Jagen, creator of the Good Knight Child Empowerment Network, which provides training to children on fending off abuse and sexual advances from adults.

Public service benefiting the disadvantaged: Darell Hammond, leader of KaBOOM! Working with communities and corporate volunteers, Hammond helps bring playgrounds and skate parks to underprivileged areas across the country. Since his organization was founded in 1995 more than 2,000 recreation centers have been built and renovated.

Stories on the 100th build in the Gulf Coast:
WLOX TV - KaBoom Completes Their 100th Playground

Biloxi Sun Herald - KaBOOM! celebrates 100th playground

Story on upcoming Gulf Coast builds:
Mississippi Press - KaBOOM! playground to be built in Gautier

Hip-hop pioneer Joseph Simmons (a.k.a. Reverend Run), the new brand ambassador for the KOOL-AID KaBOOM! initiative, joined his family on a community build in Los Angeles Wednesday.

"I'm personally committed to bringing families together -- at the dinner table, in communities and on playgrounds," said Reverend Run. "I'm hopeful that by working together, KOOL-AID, KaBOOM!, and I can make a real difference in kids' lives by allowing them to have fun and create the memories that will serve them well for many years to come."

Interviews with Reverend Run about the build, KOOL-AID, and KaBOOM! can be found at the links below.

Fox 5 Vegas

My Fox Atlanta

On May 24th, 2008 more than 400 people joined together as a community to build a safe, innovative and beautiful park for children in San Pancho, Mexico. This project, known as RECICLA PARQUE (Recycled Park), relied on KaBOOM! tools, such as the online Toolkit, while creating an innovative, green playspace.

One of the principles of the RECICLA PARQUE project was to use recycled materials in the construction of the park and to teach sustainable building techniques. Groups of volunteers built walls from glass bottles, walls that used plastic bottles filled with sand as "bricks," and benches from sacks filled with dirt and covered with a mixture of concrete and paper, a technique known as "papercrete" and experimental in the San Pancho climate. They sanded and painted old CFE spools to use as tables, refurbished found iron works to use as doors on the kids' area, and cut tires to use for swingsets and other play equipment.

Build Day was an amazing example of a community in action. Parents, teachers, kids, business owners, passers-by, San Pancho residents and groups and organizations from Bucerias, Sayulita, Guadalajara, Punta de Mita, Colorado and California joined together to create a park for the children of San Pancho in an action of solidarity and goodwill that left the organizers "thankful, inspired and awed." [More]

Last Saturday, in 95˚ heat, KaBOOM! had its 99th build in the Gulf Coast -- and a Build Day wedding! -- at Life Academy, a preschool program of the Resurrection of Life Church in Picayune, Miss.

Volunteers kept busy assembling the play structure, rock blocks, slither slide, adventure bridge, and Freddy Firetruck, plus shade structures, butcher block benches and picnic tables...until 10 a.m., when everyone was told to put down their tools because it was time to go to the wedding being held on the build site!

The ceremony took place about 50 yards from the playground. The bride and groom, Chris Utter and Roxie Zortman, were joined by friends, family, and all 130 build volunteers, the vast majority of whom were members of the church. When the attendees realized there wasn't music, they all hummed ‘Here Comes the Bride' as the bride walked down the makeshift aisle.

Despite the unusual circumstances, Brother Allen performed a very moving and deeply spiritual ceremony. The bride and groom both shed tears of joy before finally sharing their first kiss as husband and wife. Immediately after the wedding, it was time to get back to work. The groom quickly changed and hit the mulch pile, while his bride regretfully left to spend time with family in for the weekend.

It was quite a day! And this coming Saturday, we'll be celebrating the 100th KaBOOM! Operation Playground build in the Gulf Coast.

100th playground planned
June 8, 2008

After Hurricane Katrina struck the Coast, KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit that helps communities build playgrounds, made a commitment to build 100 playgrounds in the areas hardest hit.

On June 14 in Bay St. Louis, KaBOOM! will reach this goal.

"When KaBOOM! began Operation Playground just three months after Hurricane Katrina struck, those outside the area were incredulous, believing that playgrounds were the last thing people needed in the midst of the devastation," said Darell Hammond, KaBOOM! CEO and co-founder. "But we knew that the Gulf Coast's youngest residents needed safe places to escape the stress of the rebuilding effort and reclaim their childhood."

On Dec. 17, 2005, more than 600 residents and other volunteers came together at Carol Vegas Park in Bay St. Louis to build a new playground, the first new permanent structure in the town after Katrina. [More]