The new playspace brings joy to hundreds of kids after months of playground closures.
The Ravens and KABOOM! partnered to provide a new playground for a community in need.
(Baltimore, Md. – 9/23/20) – Kids at Edgecombe Circle Elementary School in Baltimore City, Md., are celebrating today, because they have a great new place to play. For months, representatives from Edgecombe Circle Elementary, the Ravens Foundation, Inc. and KABOOM!, the nonprofit organization focused on ending playspace inequity, have been working together to increase access to playspaces for local kids with the creation of a new, kid-designed playground that was installed from Aug. 24-28. The playground will give kids an incredible place to play close to where they live and learn – an opportunity that is often hard to achieve.
The school's principal, Monica McClain, shared the importance of community play spaces best when she said:
"Being a community school is something that's important to us here, because we realize that our students live in the community, and they are going to transform this community. This community school status has helped us significantly, because it's opened up other partnerships, and it's helping us reach that point of being a surrogate home for our families.
"We want to open our doors to the community so that our students can thrive and so that our families can be here. I want our families to see the work that we're doing on behalf of their children and the who people are championing this work. It's important for students to be visibly surrounded by people who they know are cheering for them. And the more partners and people we bring in and have them look at our children in our purest form of excellence, the better off we'll be.
"Prioritizing play is something that our children need now, more than ever. Our children have lost a lot of their connections in the past few months, some of the very connections that used to bring immense joy to their day. As we move forward, we will still need to make time to play – safely, of course – but time to play, to laugh and live fully in these moments of happiness."
In June, kids from the community participated in a "virtual design day," where they creatively thought of ideas to create their dream playground. The new playground, which was designed with inspiration from their drawings, will provide hundreds of kids and their families with an incredible playspace that can spark hope and enable kids to reach their full potential.
KABOOM! knows that playspaces are essential to resilience, health and childhood, and the communities who have been hit the hardest by COVID-19 – communities facing challenges already, and communities of color – are the same communities that often lack access to parks and playspaces due to historic disinvestment. The partners have teamed up to help end playspace inequity, creating a new place for kids to play that not only reflects the neighborhood's unique needs and aspirations, but also gives every kid the opportunity to experience the joys of childhood.
"We know disasters and crises often exacerbate the inequities that communities are already experiencing, and in many communities, kids won't have a playground to go back to once the COVID-19 crisis is over," stated James Siegal, CEO of KABOOM!. "We must stop the playspace inequities from becoming even deeper after we get through this pandemic, giving every kid the chance to play and just enjoy being a kid."
Through its partnership with the Ravens Foundation, KABOOM! is committed to ending playspace inequity for kids and communities – for good.
"On several different occasions, we've partnered with KABOOM! to build playspaces for incredible communities all over Baltimore," stated Heather Darney, executive director of the Ravens Foundation. "While we take great pride in each of those projects, this particular playground at Edgecombe Circle Elementary stands out, because it was built during the COVID-19 pandemic – a time when the lives of so many children were completely uprooted. Now, more than ever, our communities need fun, safe and exciting spaces for kids to enjoy being kids again."
To ensure that playgrounds are able to open safely in every community, KABOOM! has issued important playground guidance that all communities, playground owner/operators and caregivers can follow. The guidance can be viewed or downloaded at www.kaboom.org/reopen.
KABOOM! is the national non-profit that works to achieve playspace equity. Kids who don't have access to play miss out on childhood and are denied critical opportunities to build physical, social and emotional health. And all too often, it more deeply affects communities of color. So we amplify the power of communities to build inspiring playspaces that spark unlimited opportunities for every kid, everywhere. KABOOM! has teamed up with partners to build or improve 17,000+ playspaces, engage more than 1.5 million community members and bring joy to more than 11 million kids.