NORFOLK, Va., April 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Longtime national partners KaBOOM! (@kaboom) and The CarMax Foundation (@carmax) are building a community playground and providing ten life-size creative play sets to organizations that serve military families. During the "Week of Play" from April 23-29, which falls during the Month of the Military Child, the partners will host ten community events across the country to bring play opportunities to kids of veterans and active duty service members. Together, they will make it easier for kids to get the childhood they deserve filled with play.
Many kids experience significant emotional impact when a parent deploys or returns home from military service, or when they move locations frequently. According to Blue Star Families' annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey, 42 percent of military families experienced more than six months of family separation in the last 18 months. When kids face uncertainty or stress, play creates a safe buffer against the change or adversity around them. Play is crucial for kids to restore normalcy and stay active and healthy.
On April 27, The CarMax Foundation and KaBOOM! will bring a new playground to Norfolk, Virginia, a community with a large military family population, for area kids to explore, imagine and create. Hundreds of community volunteers will come together to build a new playspace that experts designed based on local kids' drawings of their dream playgrounds at a special event last month. Many families in this community have expressed that while their experience moving to Norfolk has been positive, the limited number of play opportunities has made the transition harder on their kids.
"We are proud to be the first corporate partner with KaBOOM! to make a significant commitment to bringing playspaces to military communities," said Craig Cronheim, president of The CarMax Foundation. "Our associates are passionate about caring for the communities in which we live and work, and they understand the importance of giving kids more opportunities to play. And, we're also deeply committed to our military community, so this is a perfect match."
The CarMax Foundation has provided the majority of the funding for the playgrounds and creative play sets through its national partnership with KaBOOM!, supporting The Foundation's commitment to furthering the cause of kid's healthy living. The CarMax Foundation will help KaBOOM! build 33 playgrounds across the country by the end of 2018 – a $5 million investment that will serve thousands of kids. The CarMax Foundation supports KaBOOM! in ensuring that all kids get the play they need to thrive.
"Play is the very essence of childhood. You can't even imagine a childhood without play, but for too many kids who don't have easy opportunities to play in their community, it is a distressing reality," said James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!. "When kids experience stress in their lives, play provides an outlet for them to channel their emotions in positive ways and demonstrates to kids that they are protected and loved. This is especially important for kids who move often or have deployed parents. Thanks to the commitment and leadership of The CarMax Foundation, our partnership has provided more ways for kids of military families to experience the healing power of play, helping them grow up healthy and active so they can be successful in life."
The ten grants for creative play sets, Imagination Playground™ and Rigamajig™, will be provided to child-serving non-profits across the country during the "Week of Play." Each grantee from Seattle, WA to Fayetteville, NC is celebrating the receipt of the play sets through community events, including one alongside the playground build in Norfolk, VA. Imagination Playground™ empowers kids to build and rebuild the playspace of their dreams using a collection of blue foam blocks with no limits to their creativity. Rigamajig™, a collection of wooden planks, wheels, pulleys, nuts, bolts and rope, allows children to follow their curiosity through play while learning 21st century skills. This type of play helps military families have fun and healthy experiences together.
The CarMax Foundation
The CarMax Foundation is designed to enrich the communities where our associates live and work and has donated more than $35 million since 2003. Funding programs are made available through a portion of CarMax, Inc.'s pre-tax profits. CarMax, a member of the FORTUNE 500 and the S&P 500, and on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list for 13 consecutive years, is the nation's largest retailer of used vehicles. Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, CarMax currently operates more than more than 170 stores in 39 states nationwide. The CarMax consumer offer features low, no-haggle prices, a broad selection of used vehicles, and superior customer service. At CarMax, we'll buy your car even if you don't buy ours®. CarMax has more than 24,000 associates nationwide. During the 12 months ending February 28, 2017, the company retailed 671,294 used cars and sold 391,686 wholesale vehicles at its in-store auctions. For more information, access the CarMax website at www.carmax.com.
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.