Inspiration monday - KaBOOM! News • page 2

May 16th, 2008 was a cold and rainy day, but that could not stop over 250 volunteers from the Borough of Trappe, PA and employees of PECO, an electric and natural gas utility, to come together to build a great place to play.

This build was not only going to be a special place for the kids of the community to run, jump, laugh and play, it was going to be a special place to remember Michael J. Killian, a PECO lineman who was killed in an accident in 2006. The community came together on that special day to remember Mike and to pay tribute to him and his family with the creation of the Michael J. Killian Memorial Playground, but the story does not end there.

You can see a video of this moving ribbon cutting ceremony here: Web Extra: Playground Dedication in Limerick, Pa.

Mayor Connie Peck was a true champion for the project and has seen what an amazing impact the playground has had on her community. There is still a lot of momentum to keep positive change in their community going and volunteerism has been going strong. She even gets calls from people asking when the next project is that they can help out with.

Recently they’ve continued working with a committee of citizens to focus on enhancing their “open spaces” around town. Randolph Park is getting a new walking path and plans are underway to renovate Rainbow Park and of course they are planning a playground for it. They also recently planted 82 trees and 45 shrubs in other parks around town.

Have an inspiring story to share about how a playground build impacted your community or how play has inspired you? Let us know!

Inspiration Monday is a regular KaBOOM! blog feature.

February 22, 2010 KaBOOM!

Inspiration Monday: Record-breaking play!

Over the weekend, I had a lot of fun playing with my kids and enjoying the sunny weather. I loved seeing them slide down the melting snow and throwing snowballs at me. It was a lot of fun and very spontaneous!

I remembered back to when I was a kid and having those same experiences. Sliding down a hill, throwing a ball, riding a bike; these were all part of my childhood. I want to make sure that my kids and kids all over the country have that same experience. At a time when play is being taken away from kids, it is refreshing to be part of a movement to save play.

I was checking out the latest YouTube videos and came across a really cool and inspirational one about play! It was all about the University of Alberta breaking the world record in dodge ball. It was amazing and brought me back to my childhood. Very inspiring and motivating.

You can see the video below!

For most of us, Presidents Day is a day off from work and a time to relax and spend time with family and friends, or maybe it is a day to get that last pile of snow out of the driveway! Whatever you plan to do, make it a playful day. Also, reflect on what Presidents Day is about. For me, it is about recognizing great leaders of our country who, despite very difficult circumstances rallied a nation to overcome them. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were incredible leaders who never gave up and kept the vision of a better tomorrow alive in their words and actions. This same spirit and determination can also be seen and heard in communities all over the country. Leaders are stepping up to make change happen, and community members become leaders as they stand up and take action to better their community.

An example of a community and its members standing up to make change happen can be found in Birmingham, Ala. As a part of a plan to revitalize an impoverished and underserved area of Birmingham, the YWCA of Central Alabama established an initiative called “YWoodlawn” which will provide low-income and transitional housing for families experiencing homelessness or economic struggles. The YWCA believes in the power of play and envisioned the role a playground would serve for teachers/caregivers during the day and for parents and relatives at night. Their vision became a reality on November 5, 2009, as 260 volunteers from the community and The Home Depot came together to build a great place to play.

Although the playground has only been around for three months, the impact on the community can already be seen and heard. One community member that was very involved in the planning, but could not be at the build is thrilled to see the impact. This community member lives right near the playground and has been over there every day after the build. He described his feelings about the playground in such an inspiring way: “Once I realized how much of a surge this project would be for this neighborhood and the people who live here I realized I don’t want to give that up . . . I want this to continue to be about more than just a playground but to be about bringing new and wonderful things into these kids’ lives all the time.”

You can see pictures of the YWCA of Central Alabama playground build here!

Inspiration Monday is a regular KaBOOM! blog feature.

In February of 2001, Calvary Ministries of the West End Community in Durham, NC witnessed something truly amazing. Not only did a playground get built, the community was strengthened as a result. The project was co- led by Mayme Webb-Bledsoe, Senior Neighborhood Coordinator from Duke University. She credited the build with being the catalyst that brought six neighborhood groups together and allowed them an opportunity to work together and put aside their differences.

Calvary Ministries had been working on a Quality of Life project and needed a visible “win” to get the program off the ground. The build helped to provide a tangible transformation and a very clear win for everyone. Through the build process, the community was continually engaged and part of the planning. This engagement led to taking ownership, which led to a strong motivation in maintaining the playground. Nine years later, the playground is in great shape and the safety surfacing is at the right level. This is a true testament to the importance of community involvement! 

Calvary Ministries went on to do more building. They built six houses in one week with Habitat for Humanity and kept on going, renovating 400 homes. The community continues to be strengthened and work together. It all started with a playground!

For more information, visit the Quality of Life Project website.

Inspiration Monday is a regular KaBOOM! blog feature.

January 25, 2010 KaBOOM!

Inspiration Monday: It's YOUR playground

PennsylvaniaOne of the great things about a community-built playground is that everyone who helps build it feels a sense of ownership over it, and a desire to protect it.

If you think about it, that only makes sense. When you use your own two hands to build something great, you want to make sure it's taken care of. A community-built playground is more than just a place to play - it becomes YOUR playground when you help to put it together.

People who worked on the Enterprise Center playground in Philadelphia sure felt that way. Since the build, which was funded by The Home Depot Foundation and took place last August, people who helped build the playground have been doing inspections and locking and unlocking the gate each day. Plus, their community association has started hosting clean ups, planting days and various fun community events at the playground.

The great thing about it was that everyone was involved in the build, from kids to seniors. Local teens designed the mural, and senior citizens came out with their lawn chairs and helped to pour lemonade and do what they could to be involved in the day. The Y up the street and a nearby school were all engaged in the process, and a summer camp program of young kids made 1’ x 1’ murals. It goes to show everybody can - and should - contribute.

You can see photos from the Build Day here.

Building fun!"Nothing is usually going on in this city. Now something has actually happened! People are asking, 'What’s next?'"

That's what someone said about the playground built in East St. Louis, Ill. with the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group this past May.

"Something positive happened and now there is momentum to do more!" said another person.

As we say at KaBOOM!, it starts with a playground. And we really do mean that. Once the playground is built, that's only the beginning of the amazing stuff that can happen in a community. We know countless people who have been so inspired by the process that they just can't wait to see what other great things they can do to make their community better.

One of those people is Irma Golliday, executive director of the East St. Louis Park District. She said the playground building process taught her so much about managing people that she's continued to use that model to organize other things in the community. She said that with her renewed energy and the energy in the community, she is taking on improving other parts of the parks, and they plan to find a way to redo the basketball courts and a small version of a baseball field.

What's inspired you to take action in your community?

Inspiration Monday is a regular KaBOOM! blog feature. 

Are you ready for some inspiration? As part of our regular "Inspiration Monday" series, today we're presenting a story that's a bit older, but it's so amazing it bears repeating. This story is a particularly good example of all the amazing changes that can come to a community once people start working together to make a difference.

Julio Salcedo, site director for Lytle Creek Park, in San Bernardino, Calif. shared with KaBOOM! the amazing ripple effects brought about by their playground build on March 29, 2008 as part of the Cesar Chavez Day of Service with CaliforniaVolunteers. All these things happened within one month of the playground build.

  • The plots in the community garden created on Build Day were all adopted by families, who planted a variety of vegetables and fruit trees.
  • The teenagers involved in the build formed a community service club, and they take care of the plants around the center and worked on creating a walking path in the area.
  • Attendance at the community center near the playground was off the charts one month following the build! They used to feed lunch to 25 kids a day, and after the build they had to order 70 lunches each day for the kids. They used to serve 40 to 50 people visit on an average day, and one month after the build the numbers were closer to 120.
  • Even more amazingly, the very first Lytle Creek Community Association meeting took take place shortly after the build, including reps from the sheriff's department, code enforcement, health and human services, and animal services.

Now, tell me: what inspires you?

"Inspiration Monday" is a regular KaBOOM! blog feature.

December 21, 2009 KaBOOM!

Inspiration Monday: Brill Field Park

After a rough weekend of snowstorms here in Washington, I know I could use some inspiration, and I bet you could, too! So here's our next installment of Inspiration Monday.

The folks of the Houghs Neck Community Council in Quincy, Mass. built such an amazing playground, kids who never asked to go to the park before are begging their parents to go to it! The playground build, which happened Oct. 15, was funded by The Home Depot. The project has gotten tremendous press, and everyone keeps asking "What's next?" and how they can get involved. 

You can see some great pics from their Design Day here and from their Build Day here.

Eager to keep the momentum, the council is already working on raising money to replace another playground nearby that needs some TLC. They're looking at adding tot swings and a tire swing, among other things, and they already have $8,000 set aside to start fundraising for it.

The project has even inspired a neighboring community to take action. They've started a civic organization based on Quincy's success!

It's amazing to see things like this happen following a playground build. If you've got an inspiring story like this one, feel free to share it in the comments!

"Inspiration Monday" is a new, regular KaBOOM! blog feature written by Dave Flanigan, director of operations for the KaBOOM! Project Management team.

On Thursday we showed you what a built-in-a-day playground looks like. Now, as part of our ongoing Inspiration Monday series, we’re going to tell you about what happens after the playground is built!

The kids of Peyton Elementary School in Atlanta, for example, are learning in a whole new way, thanks to the new playground that was built on Oct. 22.  

Teachers are using the playspace to enhance their lessons. The Language Arts classes are doing role-playing and performing plays in the outdoor classroom, while the science classes are using the observation deck to collect water samples. Several teachers have also been inspired to use the nature trail

One teacher even allows well-behaved children to earn extra time for recess on the playground, which helps enhance the harmony of the classroom.

And in addition to the school, the community loves to gather at the new playspace. The school counselor will be using the grounds for an open house to invite and build partnerships within the community. The church across the street uses the Nature Trail on Sundays to teach the children about nature and uses the playground during the children's church hour. 

Learn how to build an outdoor classroom.

Learn more about the Peyton Forest playground here.


Stay tuned next Monday for another inspiring story!


"Inspiration Monday" is a new, regular KaBOOM! blog feature written by Dave Flanigan, director of operations for the KaBOOM! Project Management team.


December 07, 2009 KaBOOM!

Inspiration Monday: Pecan Park Elementary

Ever wonder what happens to a community after their playground is built? We’ve got some great stories to share. Each week I will be sharing a inspiring story from one of our past community-built playground projects. I encourage you to share your stories too!

Here’s one from Pecan Park Elementary in Jackson, Miss.

The KaBOOM phrase "It starts with a playground" is so true and visionary, especially for Pecan Park. Building a KaBOOM playground on May 18, 2006 was the first of many exciting health-related improvements for the school. As a result of the build, the school received a “Health is Academic” Start Up Grant from the Mississippi Department of Education. In the summer of 2007, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Mississippi gave the school a grant to build a quarter-mile walking track on the campus. This new track was the perfect place to implement the “Let's Go Walkin' Mississippi" program

That same year, the school received a Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant and have already renewed for this year. Last summer, Project Fit America cardiovascular stations were installed, and a two year commitment to support the program was provided.

The playground was a catalyst to make all of this happen and we are proud of all the great accomplishments that the school has achieved. Way to go, Pecan Park Elementary!

You can learn more about the Pecan Elementary playground here

Stay tuned next Monday for another inspiring story!


"Inspiration Monday" is a new, regular KaBOOM! blog feature written by Dave Flanigan, director of operations for the KaBOOM! Project Management team.