Playground will enhance family and community well-being
NEW ORLEANS, April 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - Just a few months shy of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, play returned to Mid-City New Orleans today with a new playground built at Morris Jeff Community School. It was a dream five years in the making but in less than eight hours, more than 100 volunteers from ForestersTM, Morris Jeff Community School (MJCS), and organizers from non-profit KaBOOM! created the new play space, which will serve more than 18,900 children and their families in the local community for over the next 15 years.
"A community's well-being starts with a child's well-being," said Tony Garcia, President and CEO, Foresters. "Playgrounds are important to communities, providing an open space where children can play safely. We believe that an investment in a playground is an investment in family well-being, and we are happy to provide the New Orleans community with a place that families can enjoy for years to come."
The design for the new playground is based on drawings created by MJCS students and their families at a special Design Day event held in February. Joined by community members and stakeholders, families met with organizers from KaBOOM! and Foresters to design a playground that speaks to the school's strong commitment to community and inclusion.
Since 2006, Foresters, an international financial services provider, has invested over $10 million with KaBOOM! to build over 120 playgrounds across the US and Canada by the end of 2015. Over their 15-year lifespan, these playgrounds will provide more than 4 million children and their families with an opportunity to spend quality time together and enhance family well-being.
"We have come a long way from our concrete play space on Poydras Street, where our little school opened up shortly after Katrina," said MJCS Principal Patricia Perkins. "Our parents, students and staff truly collaborated over the last five years to dream up a space, and now with the amazing contributions of KaBOOM! and Foresters, our children will enjoy this amazing gift of play every day."
Green spaces and safe play structures where children and families can enjoy and spend time together are sparse in many high density communities. Playing outdoors is an important part of every child's healthy development and the creation of this new playground will allow thousands of children to play safely and be active in their community.
Foresters is a founding member of the KaBOOM! Leadership Circle – a group of organizations providing long-term guidance and support to KaBOOM! and its mission. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has been dedicated to the bold goal of ensuring that all children get the balance of active play they need to become healthy and successful adults because #playmatters.
Morris Jeff Community School
Founded in 2009, Morris Jeff Community School is an open enrollment Type 5 Charter School driven by two fundamental goals: building an institution of the highest academic caliber for our children and transforming public education in New Orleans, and beyond. As a world school of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) the MJCS Primary Years Programme encourages the natural curiosity of children and ties subject matter together in a meaningful, applicable manner. MJCS is located in the heart of Mid-City, but the more than 600 lifelong learners who attend the school come from neighborhoods throughout the city. In the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans as a city is undergoing a transformation; the notion of community is at the heart of that transformation. MJCS is an example of that spirit. For more information, visit morrisjeffschool.org, facebook.com/morrisjeffschool, or follow our playground updates at twitter.com/morrisjeff.
For more than 140 years, Foresters™, an international financial services provider, has fulfilled its purpose to enhance family well-being for its members and the communities where they live. A fraternal benefit society, Foresters offers quality life insurance and investment 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.
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, particularly those growing up in poverty in America. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,000 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers and served 7.4 million children. KaBOOM! creates great places to play, inspires communities to promote and support play, and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy lives and communities. To learn why #playmatters: visit kaboom.org or join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.