Stories

Working with DigDeep to meet the critical needs of kids

October 14, 2022

In celebration of the rich heritage, culture and contributions of the Hispanic community, we are honored to highlight the inspiring story of this resilient Mexican-American community in El Paso, Texas.

Communities provide essential gathering spaces for traditions to be passed, and opportunities for families and neighbors to come together in support and fellowship with one another. This is especially true in the Hispanic community, where rich heritage, culture, and traditions have been kept alive and passed down through generations.

In Cochran colonia, a small rural community in El Paso County, Texas, lack of access to what many would consider basic necessities has threatened the community’s ability to grow and thrive.

“Colonia” is a Spanish word meaning neighborhood, and Cochran is one of many colonias along the US-Mexico border. Many of these colonias, including Cochran, fall just outside city limits and lack access to basic services like electricity, running water and flushing toilets. Residents in Cochran often have to travel miles to purchase or haul water for drinking, cooking and bathing – valuable hours taken away from work, school and play.

Our partners at DigDeep and A.Y.U.D.A. are working to help provide the community with water and essential health services.

“When children aren’t focused on hauling water, they have more time to play. It was truly a pleasure to team up with the local community, KABOOM!, AYUDA, and DigDeep staff members from all over the nation to install an amazing playground that will keep them happy and healthy for years to come. It’s a sign of DigDeep’s broader commitment to the communities in which they work.”Colonias Water Project Manager, Kathryn Lucero

When our basic needs are not met, human beings cannot thrive. As part of a deeper exploration of needs – the community also expressed a desire for a place for their children to play.

Far too many kids lack adequate places to play due to the ongoing effects of systemic disinvestment. These inequities have left communities of color with less access to playspaces than their white counterparts, limiting their ability to fully experience the physical, social, and emotional health benefits of play. KABOOM! works alongside communities to create playspaces that further long-term, sustainable progress towards community-driven goals, improving the lives of kids.

The kids of Cochran took part in a Design Day event in February, where they shared their dreams and designs for the ideal playspace. Those ideas were incorporated into the final design of the playspace, which was constructed and completed by various volunteers and members of the community.

The playspace at Cochran helps address playspace inequity in El Paso and making sure kids have a place to play where they live and can experience the joys of childhood.

“Playgrounds are an iconic part of childhood,” KABOOM! CEO Lysa Ratliff says. “They’re not only where kids collect some of their best memories, but also where crucial skills are developed that nurture their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. We want every kid to have great places to play, learn and reach their highest potential.”