Foresters, KaBOOM! & Volunteers Revitalize Northwest Philadelphia Community with New Playground

Playground to enhance family well-being

PHILADELPHIA, June 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - A dream is now a reality for children in West Oak Lane, Philadelphia as their drawings were turned into a new playground today. In less than eight hours, a vacant lot was transformed into a play space and dedicated as the Martha C. Young Community Playground. Thanks to the help of more than 200 volunteers from ForestersTM, the Prince Hall Alumni Foundation and non-profit KaBOOM!, the new playground will serve more than 54,000 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.

The Martha C. Young Community Playground will eventually serve more than 54,000 children from nearby schools, daycare centers and recreation centers, as well as their families, in this West Oak Lane neighborhood, where currently, no community playground exists. In addition to providing children with a safe place to play, this playground aligns with Philadelphia's Department of Public Health's Get Healthy Philly! initiative, that works to provide Philadelphians with increased opportunities for physical activity in an effort to reduce obesity and obesity-related diseases.

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.

"Today was a magical experience," said Sterlen Barr, PHAF's Board Chair and chief organizer of the playground project. "After months of planning, fundraising, and gathering together community members to make this playground happen - in less than a day, it's done! It takes a village to raise a child, and it's taken a village to build our playground. We are so excited for the children - they deserve a place to run, play, and have fun."

Thanks to the work of Foresters, the Prince Hall Alumni Foundation and KaBOOM!, children and their families now have a 2,400 square-foot playground to call home that includes features such as an Inclined Cliff Hanger, RockBlocks Climbing Wall and Triple Racer Slide.

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 Prince Hall Alumni Foundation
The Prince Hall Alumni Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is helping to enhance the lives of Prince Hall students through education, community outreach and advocacy. The foundation is a young organization working to better the lives of the children in their West Oak Lane community. Our children are in crisis because of the violence surrounding them in Philadelphia.

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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