Foresters, KaBOOM! & Volunteers Encourage Quality Family Time by Building New Playground for Baton Rouge Children

Mar 12, 2011, 15:30 ET from Foresters

Child-Designed Playground will Eventually Serve 4,500 Children and their Families

BATON ROUGE, LA, March 12 /PRNewswire/ - Children in Baton Rouge received a brand new playground today thanks to the effort of more than 200 volunteers from Foresters™, a life insurance provider committed to the well-being of families, East Baton Rouge Parish Schools and non-profit KaBOOM! The new playground will serve 4,500 children and their families in the Baton Rouge community for years to come.  Planning for the playground began at a Design Day event held in January 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.

"Foresters shares its financial strength with its members and communities where they live, such as Baton Rouge," said Kasia Czarski, Foresters Chief Membership and Marketing Officer. "Playgrounds are an ideal place for families to get to know other families and build strong communities.  This new playground at Sharon Hills Elementary will provide opportunities families to spend quality time together for years to come."

Foresters has invested over $2 million with KaBOOM! to build 32 playgrounds across North America since 2006. These playgrounds will eventually serve more than 400,000 children, providing them and their families with a place where they can play, learn and have fun together.

The playground at Sharon Hills Elementary will provide 4,500 children and their families in the Baton Rouge community with a great place to play and engage in healthy family time. In less than eight hours, the child-designed playground was built from scratch by hundreds of volunteers from Foresters, East Baton Rouge Parish Schools and the surrounding community. In addition, children and families spent the day playing games and participating in arts and crafts activities.

"For the first time, our school and our community have an area that is safe and family-oriented," said Dawn Hayward, Principal of Sharon Hills Elementary School. "The entire community is grateful for this new playground. It is beautiful, and it makes our school a great place to learn and play." 

Thanks to the work of Foresters, East Baton Rouge Parish Schools and KaBOOM!, children and their families now have a 2,580 square-foot playground to call home that includes features such as a Horizontal Loop Ladder, an Inclined Cliff Hanger and a Vertical Adventure Tube.

About Sharon Hills Elementary
Located in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System in Louisiana, Sharon Hills Elementary School has an enrollment of 290 students - 99 percent being African American and 95 percent qualifying for the free/reduced lunch program.  The school was built in 1963 and serves students in grades Pre-K through 5.  Sharon Hills Elementary employs 25 teachers and 10 paraprofessionals, and 92 percent of its teaching staff is nationally certified and/or highly qualified.  The school fosters academic achievement and community involvement to produce well-rounded citizens through traditional courses of study, as well as art and physical education courses.

About East Baton Rouge Parish School System
The East Baton Rouge Parish School System, located in Southern Louisiana, is the one of the largest public school district in the state with 86 school sites, more than 43,000 students in grades pre-K through 12 and 6,252 full-time employees (3,509 being teachers).  Among the top 100 districts nationally in student enrollment, the School System has 53 percent of its teachers with advanced or higher degrees and more than 98.5 percent of them with either state certification or highly qualified according to the federal No Child Left Behind law.  Over the past two years, the District Performance Score has increased 7.9 points, and the average ACT composite score for graduating seniors has increased to 19.4 points.  For the fifth consecutive year, the System has had a school recognized as being a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.  The East Baton Rouge Parish School System is a SACS-accredited district.

About Foresters
Founded in 1874 as a fraternal benefit society, Foresters™ champions the well-being of families through quality life insurance, unique member benefits and inspiring community activities.  Foresters shares its financial strength with more than 765,000ˆ members in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Unity Life of Canada, a wholly owned subsidiary of Foresters, represents Foresters in Canada. For more information, please visit www.foresters.com.

Foresters™ is a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal benefit society, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9.

ˆIncludes total number of UK Child Trust accounts

Unity Life of Canada, a Foresters company, is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Independent Order of Foresters

About KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to saving play. Because all children deserve to be active and healthy, KaBOOM! works to ensure that every child in America has a great place to play within walking distance. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has used its innovative community-build model to bring together businesses and communities to construct more than 1,900 new places to play across North America. KaBOOM! also fights the Play Deficit with online tools that empower communities to join the movement to save play. The KaBOOM! website, kaboom.org, allows communities to self-organize and take action to support play on a both a local and national level.

SOURCE Foresters