Foresters, KaBOOM! & Volunteers Revitalize Charlotte Community with New Playground

Playground to enhance family well-being

CHARLOTTE, NC, June 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - A dream is now a reality for children in Charlotte as their drawings were turned into a new playground today. In less than eight hours, the play space was built with the help of more than 200 volunteers from ForestersTM, Lakewood Preschool Cooperative and non-profit KaBOOM!. The new playground will serve 3,000 children and their families in the community for years to come.

"Foresters believes in providing opportunities for families to spend quality time together," said Kasia Czarski, Foresters Senior Vice President, Chief Membership and Marketing Officer. "A playground is an important piece for the revitalization of a community. Not only does it provide a first step towards keeping children healthy, but it's a safe, central location for the entire neighborhood to get together."

Planning for the playground began at a Design Day event held in April when local children and community leaders met with organizers from KaBOOM! and Foresters to design their dream playground. The children's drawings were then used to create the final playground design.

Since 2006, Foresters has invested over $7 million with KaBOOM! with almost 100 playgrounds built or planned across the U.S. and Canada. Over their 15 year lifespan, these playgrounds will provide more than 2.6 million children and their families with an opportunity to spend quality time together. Foresters is a KaBOOM! National Partner and a founding member of the KaBOOM! Leadership Circle - a group of organizations providing long-term guidance and support to KaBOOM! and its mission.

"It is such a privilege to have Foresters and KaBOOM! support us with a state of the art playground for our students and our community," said Courtney Alexander, Lakewood Preschool Cooperative Executive Director.

Thanks to the work of Foresters, Lakewood Preschool Cooperative and KaBOOM!, children and their families now have a 4,200 square-foot playground to call home that includes features such as the Rock Climber, Double-sided Slide with Climbing Structure and a Balance Beam.

A passionate advocate for family well-being, Foresters recently launched the Tech Timeout™ challenge, which encourages families to take a pledge to turn off all electronic devices for an hour a day for one week.  For more details, visit techtimeout.com.

About Lakewood Preschool Cooperative
Lakewood Preschool Cooperative (LPC) is a tuition-free, neighborhood-based preschool and family support program serving 30+ students and their caregivers annually in Charlotte's Lakewood Community. LPC is a five-star preschool designed as a cooperative effort among family members, staff, neighbors and volunteers. LPC is a tuition-free program. In exchange for access to exceptional preschool for their children, caregivers agree to assist in the classroom and attend weekly education and support sessions. The preschool's vision is for all children to enter school ready to learn emotionally, cognitively, socially, and physically, and for families to be prepared to help their children achieve success in school and life. LPC was established as a 501(c)3 in 1995 in response to the needs of children and families living in the Lakewood community. Education advocate Claire Tate worked with First Presbyterian Church to secure Smart Start funding to seed the preschool. Through an in-kind contribution of design services by FWA Group and construction services by Charlotte Habitat for Humanity, LPC's current facility opened in May 1997 serving two classrooms of children representing a wide spectrum of cultures, many from within the Lakewood community. In the years since, hundreds of individuals, local businesses, churches and foundations have donated funding, materials and time to make LPC one of the top preschools in the region.

About Foresters
Foresters™ is a life insurance provider with a difference.  The fraternal benefit society, founded in 1874, supports family well-being through quality products, unique member benefits and inspiring community activities. Foresters shares its financial strength with over one million members in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.  For more information, visit foresters.com.

Foresters™ is the trade name and a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal benefit society, 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9; its subsidiaries are licensed to use this mark.

Tech Timeout and the Tech Timeout logo are trademarks of The Independent Order of Foresters

About KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving kids the childhood they deserve by bringing play to those who need it most. Children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation, a fact that is having disastrous consequences on their health, achievement levels, and overall well-being. Social entrepreneur Darell Hammond founded non-profit KaBOOM! in 1996 in Washington, D.C. with a vision of creating a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America because children need to play actively every day at home, in school and in their communities. Since then, KaBOOM! has mapped over 90,000 places to play, built more than 2,200 playgrounds, and successfully advocated for play policies in hundreds of cities across the country. KaBOOM! also provides communities with online tools to self-organize and take action to support play on both a local and national level. Hammond chronicles the founding of the organization and the importance of the cause of play in his The New York Times Best Seller KaBOOM!: A Movement to Save Play, now out in paperback. The book details how businesses and communities can work together to save play for children across the country. All author proceeds support KaBOOM!. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has an office in San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.

SOURCE Foresters



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