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Ravens Build Playground in One Day


The halls of the Ravens' facility at 1 Winning Drive were oddly quietly for a Monday. That's because the entire Ravens organization, including 60 players and the coaching staff, were on hand at Good Samaritan Hospital all day to help build a playground for the hospital's Child Development Center.

Organizers from KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization that helps build community playgrounds, and volunteers from MedStar Health, M&T Bank, IWIF, Papa John's and Dunkin' Donuts joined the Ravens to complete the project.

"The Ravens and KaBOOM! get it," said a teary-eyed Wanda Gold, manager of the Child Development Center, as she cut the ribbon on this new Ravens-themed playground. And though the volunteers were tired and dirty, everyone applauded at what they had helped accomplish.

"I'm just eternally grateful to the Ravens and KaBOOM!," said Gold. "They understand what children need."

The playground design was based on an idea presented by the children at the Center during a design day in April. And on Monday, their design came to life in just eight hours.

"This is the kind of project that takes a lot of hands," said Melanie LeGrande, the Ravens' director of community relations and executive director of the Ravens All Community Team Foundation (ACT Foundation). It was the Ravens ACT foundation that provided the grant to make the build possible. "You can put a lot of money into a lot of different things, but this particular project needs people to make it work. It needs the cooperation of people, to really get their hands dirty."


And dirty they got. Volunteers started at 11 a.m. and completed projects that included constructing playground equipment, painting, building benches, planting trees and plants or placing mulch around the play area.

Players like Haloti Ngata![](/team/roster/haloti-ngata/9225ada6-37a5-4b66-9776-1b6e4df2fb50/ "Haloti Ngata") and **Domonique Foxworth** and coaches like **John Harbaugh** and **Cam Cameron** arrived in the afternoon to participate as well, doing everything from the heavy lifting to the intricate paint jobs.

"It's a great team-building effort for all of us to be out here and do something for the community," Ravens president **Dick Cass** said, who was among the many to wheelbarrow mulch onto the site. "It's something we enjoy doing. We did this two years ago and it was a great success, so we wanted to do it again.

"It was a lot of hard work, but I think everyone had a very good time."

There are more than 50 children, two to five years old, who will use the playground more than three times a day. The childrens' previous equipment was outdated, and had been removed prior to the build.

What made the build more poignant was that it was based on what the children wanted.

"They are the ones who drew this playground up," LeGrande said. "We just found the right things that they drew, we ordered the right products so they could get the playground they wanted. "I think it's going to be all theirs, and when you're young and have your own things like that, it is very special."

Haloti Ngata couldn't help but be amazed at what they were accomplishing. He noted that the playground was unlike anything he had ever played on as a child. But more importantly, he was just happy to help the children.

"It definitely means a lot to come out here and help out the community and give back to the city of Baltimore," he noted. "I bet a lot of us are just thankful for what the city is doing for us, and we're just trying to give back."

As the sun set and the playground took shape, there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring Ravens cheerleaders, mascot Poe, and some of the children who will now take full advantage of their new playground.

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