WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- As many communities continue relief and recovery efforts after devastating destruction caused by the recent hurricanes and wildfires, KaBOOM! is committed to restoring normalcy in the lives of affected kids and communities through great, safe places to play.
In the immediate aftermath of the disasters, KaBOOM! has already begun to work with local communities to assess immediate needs and identify specific opportunities for building new or repairing existing playspaces to help kids and communities heal. Just four weeks after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Southeast Texas, KaBOOM! worked with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas to build a playground for Gray Elementary in Houston.
"I didn't realize a playground would make such a big difference for my child, but it actually does," said Rosalia Martinez, paraeducator at Gray Elementary. "After the hurricane, some of the kids may question who's really there for them. Seeing us build this new playground, it makes them feel like, 'Wow, they actually care about us. They think about us. What we need and what we like.'"
KaBOOM! is now expanding existing efforts to put kids first in the areas most in need of recovery. There is a challenging road ahead for many, as millions still lack basic necessities and some communities will be impacted for months and years to come. The chaos and upheaval brought on by these natural disasters can have a profound impact on kids and puts them at a higher risk for extreme levels of stress that are considered toxic. When disaster strikes, it is critical for families to find ways to create a sense of normalcy as a part of the recovery process.
"We know from experience that when kids play, they rebound faster and are able to return to everyday life more quickly," said Roxane Rucker, vice president of community impact at KaBOOM!. "That's why we're committed to supporting kids and communities impacted by disaster by building safe spaces for kids to get the play they need to thrive."
"This is an all-hands-on-deck moment and we need leaders from across sectors to prioritize kids," said Rucker. "KaBOOM! is grateful to our partners who have already signed up to join efforts to support families in disaster-impacted areas." Target, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, The CarMax Foundation and UnitedHealthcare are among the first to commit a total of $2.3 million to support on-going recovery efforts and ensure nearly 88,000 kids in impacted regions have 35 new or refurbished playspaces. "If we are able to double our current funding commitment level, we will bring play to 175,000 kids who need it most," said Rucker.
KaBOOM! has a long-standing history of serving kids and communities following disasters to build hope, boost momentum for other community recovery efforts and promote community healing. KaBOOM! has mobilized nearly 50,000 volunteers to build more than 240 playspaces, serving more than 600,000 kids over time in areas affected by disasters.
For more information on KaBOOM!, its disaster recovery efforts and how to get involved, visit: kaboom.org/disasterrelief.
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,700 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers and served 8.5 million kids. 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 and productive lives. To learn why #playmatters, visit kaboom.org or join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.
KaBOOM!: Tamara Grider, 202-464-6196, [email protected]