President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama joined representatives from KaBOOM!, MyGoodDeed, AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, Corporation for National and Community Service, The Inspired Teaching School, and Washington community members to commemorate this year’s National Day of Service and Remembrance by participating in a playground build and service projects to improve the lives of local children though play.
The new playground was built for The Inspired Teaching Public Charter School and will positively impact more than 500 children by providing a safe place for them to get the play they need to thrive. One of the service projects the President and First Lady participated in was the assembly of 300 Go Out and Play! Essentials Packs to bring balanced and active play to local kids in need. The backpacks included: a kickball, sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, a flying disc, Play-Doh, a kazoo, an opportunity to draw their dream playground, and copies of My Dream Playground and Go Out and Play! Favorite Outdoor Games from KaBOOM!. They will be donated to two area non-profits dedicated to improving the lives of homeless children – The Homeless Children Playtime Project and Extra-Ordinary Birthdays.
The service projects and playground build illustrated the importance of play and the bonds it forges with children and the caring adults in their lives. It also served as a shining example of how a community, by bringing together different partners and serving together, can ensure kids get the playful childhood they deserve.
KaBOOM! alumna and former AmeriCorps volunteer, Nicole Newman, was also on-site to share her experience. Nicole participated in a KaBOOM! playground design day more than 13 years ago, as a child living at Lydia’s House. Her experience – of helping to create a safe place to play for herself and her friends; rolling up her sleeves and volunteering for a good cause; and watching something as seemingly simple as play help the children and families at Lydia’s House deal with the real-world problems putting them at risk for toxic stress – left a lifelong impression on her. She has since dedicated her life to community service and has participated in a KaBOOM! playground build process as an adult.