For those of you that don’t know me, I am on the Playworld Systems public relations team based in Hoboken, NJ. Working with Ian Proud, it is our job to help tell the Playworld Systems story. Last month, I participated in KaBOOM! playground build as a representative of Playworld Systems.
On a hot and humid Thursday in June, I ventured into lower Manhattan with another PR team member, Jenn, to find a subway line that would take us to Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Easier said than done. After many misguided efforts and subway stair closures we finally made our way to the J line headed uptown. At first we felt defeated because we spent much of our morning lost, but we quickly got over it. Apparently many resident New Yorkers need to ask for directions according to a recent WNYC blog post.
As you may know KaBOOM!, is a national nonprofit dedicated to saving play and Playworld Systems is the organization’s preferred partner. Since 1997, Playworld Systems has supplied playground equipment for nearly 2,000 KaBOOM! builds, helping to bring the benefits of play to communities in need throughout the country.
We arrived at Willoughby Court Apartments ready to offer our sweat equity along with other volunteers from the area including employees from Forrest City Ratner. We were on the surfacing team, which was responsible for moving hundreds of 40lb pillowcase-like squares onto the playground site. In addition to spreading the benefits of play, we also received a great upper body workout.
In just a few hours the playground started to take shape. Looking around you could see the smiles and excitement on the faces of children that live in the housing complex as they anxiously awaited the finished product. It was fun to see the kids working alongside the adults, everyone sweating and smiling knowing that before long, families and friends would have a new place to spend time playing together.
We often write about the impact of play on the human spirit, but to experience it firsthand is awe-inspiring. Participating in volunteer community builds allows us to get out from behind our desks and get closer to Playworld Systems’ mission. I am proud to have taken part in a cause that set the foundation for new adventures in play for hundreds of children.
As Jenn and I packed up our things and prepared for our subway trip home we turned to see a young boy dancing (all KaBOOM! builds include a live DJ, which makes the build feel more like a celebration) on the sideline of the playground. He was anxiously waiting for his new adventure to begin.
Have you participated in a community playground build? To get involved visit http://kaboom.org/volunteer_kaboom_build.