Community Focus: Built to Last
"Seven weeks ago the kids came and met with me and they got the opportunity to draw their designs. From those designs we picked out different themes and created three unique designs that the community voted on which was their favorite design," project manager at KaBOOM Kristen Karcsh told philadelphiaflyers.com.
Over 200 volunteers gathered at McPherson Square Park in North Philadelphia to build a new playground in just six hours.
This was just one stop on a tour - a tour that has built 2,175 playgrounds so far for the organization KaBOOM, whose mission is dedicated to saving play for youth. The non-profit is on its way to building 150 playgrounds across the country in 2012.
“Only one in five children have a place to play within walking distance of their home so we're bringing a place for them to play in Kensington," says Karcsh.
The rain threatened to put a damper on the day, but there was only a slight drizzle in the morning hours.
Former Flyer captain and Player Development Coach Derian Hatcher even stopped by to swing the hammer along with Flyers alumnus Bob “the Hound” Kelly who mixed the cement for the playground which featured swings, a triple slide, a bulldozer jungle gym and picnic areas.
Six organizations, over 200 volunteers, 10 park benches, nine picnic tables were among the playground pieces that came together to build a brand new, one-of-a-kind recreation area for hundreds of children in this community to play.
"For this particular part of the neighborhood which we call the heart of Kensington, we could not do this without the help of private partners, the Department of Recreation and the City,” says Councilwoman in the seventh district María Quiñones-Sánchez. “We understand that visually this is only the beginning but we hope a lot of people here will be inspired with the fact that people care."
Following the completion of the project, there was a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony to conclude the day. The playground will need to cure another 72 hours before the children can begin to play, but come Monday, it is expected that this playground will be an attraction for many families.
The hope is that this playground will provide a safe haven for kids to play and be physically active. And even greater, that this is a catalyst for even more of a bright future for the children of this community.