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Print

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and Lots of Love Community Center to Build 100th KaBoom! Playground in Chicago in One Day

June 23, 2012

What

More than 200 volunteers from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and the Lots of Love Community Center, organizers from KaBOOM! and residents of the Auburn-Gresham community will join forces on Saturday, June 23 to build the 100th KaBOOM! playground in Chicago. The new playground's design is based on drawings created by children who participated in a Design Day event in May.

Why

Today's kids spend less time playing outside than any previous generation in part because only 1-in-5 children live within walking distance of a park or playground. This play deficit is having profound consequences for kids physically, socially and cognitively. Children need a place to play every day in order to be active and healthy, something KaBOOM! has been committed to since 1996. More than 20,000 volunteers have built the 100 KaBOOM! playgrounds in Chicago that will eventually serve more than 250,000 children.

The new playground will provide more than 1,500 children in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood with a safe place to play. Currently, the children served by the center who live in the neighborhood do not have a safe playground within walking distance to enjoy.

The playground is the 13th built by KaBOOM! and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and one of more than 150 playground builds KaBOOM! will lead across the country in 2012. The project is part of "Healthy Kids, Healthy Families," a three-year initiative designed to improve the health and wellness of children through community investments by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. "Healthy Kids, Healthy Families" invests in non-profit organizations that encourage health education, promote physical activity, prevent and manage disease, and support safe environments for children.

In addition to the community-built playground, the new play area will also include Imagination Playground in a CartTM — a breakthrough playspace concept designed by architect David Rockwell to encourage child-directed, unstructured free play. With reconfigurable loose parts, Imagination Playground in a CartTM allows children to constantly change their environment and design their own course of play.

When


Saturday, June 23
8:30 a.m. to 9:00a.m.Kick off ceremony and volunteer deployment
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.Best viewing of playground construction
1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.Final construction phase and adjustments
2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.Ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate new play area
(Note: all times approximate)

Where

Lots of Love Community Center
1005 West 79th Street
Chicago, IL 60620

Who

SPECIAL GUESTS, VIPs
KaBOOM! Founder & CEO Darell Hammond; Karen Atwood, President, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, State Senator Jacqueline Collins, Alderman LaTasha Adams, Hundreds of volunteers from the community

Visuals

Before and after shots of the site
Volunteers assembling brightly colored playground equipment
Volunteers moving 43,740 square feet of safety surfacing by hand
Ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the playground

Lots of Love Community Center
Lots of Love Community Center (LLCC) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2009 to provide before and after school care for children in the Auburn-Gresham community. With the support of the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation, LLCC also works to serve community members of all ages through health fairs, job placement events, computer training, foreign language classes, senior programs, food drives and distribution and adult classes.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
With more than 7 million members, BCBSIL, a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, is the largest health insurance company in Illinois. Started in 1936, BCBSIL is committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and its communities through accessible, cost-effective, quality health care.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Families
"Healthy Kids, Healthy Families" is a three-year initiative designed to encourage health education, promote physical activity, prevent and manage disease, and support safe environments for children. The program works through investments and partnerships with nonprofit organizations that offer sustainable, measurable programs to reach children directly, through schools and other third parties. Major founding partners include The OrganWise Guys, KaBOOM! and mobile health vans. The program is supported by Health Care Service Corporation and its Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. For more information or to seek partnership and funding opportunities, please visit www.HealthyKidsHealthyFamilies.org .

KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to saving play. Children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation, a fact that is having disastrous consequences on their health, achievement levels, and overall well-being. To fight this play deficit, social entrepreneur Darell Hammond founded non-profit KaBOOM! in 1996 in Washington, D.C. with a vision of creating a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since then, KaBOOM! has mapped over 89,000 places to play, built more than 2,000 playgrounds, and successfully advocated for play policies in hundreds of cities across the country. KaBOOM! also provides communities with online tools to self-organize and take action to support play on both a local and national level. Hammond chronicles the founding of the organization and the importance of the cause of play in his The New York Times Best Seller KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play . The book details how businesses and communities can work together to save play for children across the country. All author proceeds support KaBOOM!. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org .

Imagination Playground LLC
Imagination Playground is a breakthrough playspace concept conceived and designed by acclaimed architect David Rockwell to encourage child-directed, unstructured free play. Rockwell and his firm, Rockwell Group, have partnered with KaBOOM!, the leading national non-profit organization dedicated to bringing play to kids everywhere. The mission of this partnership is to inspire children's inherent ability to dream and create by bringing Imagination Playground to communities across the country. With a focus on loose parts, Imagination Playground offers a changing array of elements that allows children to constantly reconfigure their environment and to design their own course of play. Giant foam blocks, mats, wagons, fabric and crates overflow with creative potential for children to play, dream, build and explore endless possibilities. For more information, please visit www.imaginationplayground.com  or call (866) 986-5551.