At KABOOM!, we create amazing places to play through a process driven by kids and communities.
But have you ever wondered what it's like to actually build playgrounds for KABOOM!? We asked Chibuzo Okoro and Hunter Stevens from the KABOOM! Programs team to tell us about one of the projects they led this year that really moved them.
KABOOM! staff Cointe (pictured left), Hunter (pictured center), and Chibuzo (pictured right) at the YMCA of West San Gabriel Valley playground.
Describe the community where you built the playground.
Chibuzo: The YMCA of West San Gabriel Valley has always been a strong supporter of play and the health and well-being of kids, offering a range of play-filled opportunities to the kids in their community.
After partnering with us several years ago to build a playground, we were able to come back this year to fill a need for younger kids aged 2-5 years old who were too little to experience our first playground.
Like all of our playspaces, we start with gathering input from kids and adults in the community. At the first in-person design session I led since the pandemic, I got to see kids excitedly present their dream playground drawings.
Although there may have been a waterslide or trampoline that didn't make it into the final design, we were able to use many of their ideas to create an amazing playspace!
What happened after the design event?
Hunter: With the support of advocates like YMCA of West San Gabriel Valley's CEO Valarie Gomez, we were able to rally volunteers which included high school students on their day off; veterans and public servants including firefighters; employee volunteers from the Smile Generation; and other local residents.
I bet you meet really interesting people on projects.
Hunter: Yes! On this build, we met our favorite ‘volunteer’, 9-year-old Ezell.
Over the course of the day, Ezell (pictured in the photo below) enthusiastically checked in with us and kept us accountable on his walkie talkie as we dug holes, assembled equipment, completed enhancement projects, and moved mulch to create an engaging space for his friends and younger kids at the YMCA.
Being able to create positive impact in your work must feel so good.
Chibuzo: Working at KABOOM!, I'm able to meet extraordinary kids and learn more about colleagues like Hunter as we travel together. We are all inspired by volunteers young and old.
But most of all, we're grateful because we get to work for a cause we're passionate about – helping ensure that every kid and community has spaces where they can play, grow, and thrive.
Ezell, Chibuzo, and Cointe with other KABOOM! volunteers
Check out our current job openings!
Looking for a new career? Our mission of achieving playspace equity is more urgent than ever, and we need your help! Join our team and build playgrounds across the country. We're currently hiring for several positions.
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