LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., April 7, 2014 — In a matter of hours this past weekend, a KaBOOM! volunteer construction crew including 125 Disney VoluntEARS built a new playground in Oakland, Fla., providing a safe place to play for nearly 6,000 children who live near the town’s Westside Park.
More than 200 volunteers – including Disney VoluntEARS and representatives of the Town of Oakland and Oakland Nature Preserve – took part in the project led by KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring children’s access to active play. In less than six hours, the crew placed 48,600 square feet of safety surfacing and assembled a labyrinth of brightly colored playground equipment.
“Disney VoluntEARS are proud to help build this place of fun and fitness, where children and families can learn, play and grow together,” said Nancy Gidusko, director of community relations and minority business development at Walt Disney World Resort. “It was exhilarating to see this project come together in just one day for the children of Oakland.”
The playground’s design was based on local children’s “dream playground” drawings, which were collected at a kick-off event in February. After volunteer builders put the finishing touches on the construction, they took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the new play area on Saturday.
“We’re so grateful to the volunteers who transformed Westside Park into a haven of community fun for our town,” said Oakland Mayor Kathy Stark. “Oakland is proud to be a partner in this KaBOOM! collaborative community project, which gives our children a new place to climb, run, swing, slide and just be kids.”
Since its founding in 1996, KaBOOM! has worked with community partners to build, improve and openmore than 15,000 playgrounds, engage more than 1 million volunteers and serve more than 6.6 million children. KaBOOM! helps create playgrounds, empowers play advocates and elevates awareness about the importance of play in children’s lives.
“Society’s well-being begins with a child’s well-being,” said Darell Hammond, KaBOOM! founder and CEO. “Thanks to the efforts from Disney and the Town of Oakland and the Oakland Nature Preserve, we moved one step closer to giving all kids the joyful childhood they deserve.”
As a key KaBOOM! sponsor, Disney supports the nonprofit’s vision as part of The Magic of Healthy Living, an initiative in partnership with parents to inspire kids to lead healthier lifestyles. The new Westside Park playground is one of dozens made possible with support from Disney, whose support will help bring the magic of play to more than 75,000 kids and families by the end of 2014.