CINCINNATI, OH — StriveTogether and KaBOOM! are partnering together to increase equitable access to play for kids across the country. Three communities from the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network have been selected to lead a playground project with KaBOOM!, the national nonprofit that works to ensure every kid and all communities have equitable access to quality, imaginative play spaces.
The StriveTogether communities that will work with KaBOOM! to design a community playground to help close racial and socioeconomic gaps in kids’ access to great places to play and build civic infrastructure through a project model that brings diverse residents and organizations together for youth.
“We can all agree that play is an essential part of childhood, and all kids should have opportunities to play as a matter of their human right,” said KaBOOM! Vice President of Partnership Development Lysa Ratliff. “Research shows — what many parents know — that children learn through play. The more time they have to play outside with their peers, the more likely they are able to grow essential social, physical and cognitive skills that are so important for their future success. We are proud to partner with StriveTogether to bring this vision to life.”
The communities are:
- Northfield, Minn.– The project will be led by Northfield Promise. The team has learned from Latinx families on the city’s north side that playground development is a high priority for families living in low-income housing. The team supports youth programs and community organizing in this neighborhood, creating strong opportunities to collaborate on the playground using established local relationships.
- Rio Grande Valley, Texas – The project will be led by RGV FOCUS. The team aims to use this project to support educational outcomes in the Rio Grande Valley. They consider this project an opportunity that will bring together the collective impact initiative, partner organizations and a community of parents and kids, in a part of their region where they’ve been concentrating their efforts.
- Rochester, N.Y. – The project will be led by ROC the Future. In 2017, using data provided by the city, the team mapped parks, playgrounds and recreation centers, drew a quarter-mile radius around each location and overlaid the address data of Rochester City School District students. The team will use insights from this “play desert” mapping project to prioritize neighborhoods where a playground would have the greatest impact.
Each project will involve a local youth-serving organization and over 200 community volunteers in the design, planning and installation of the playground before September 2020. The process will kick off with Design Day, where kids and families will come together to create the design specifications for an innovative, custom play space, and culminate with a day where hundreds of volunteers will build the playground. In between, partners and volunteers will work on a grassroots campaign to raise local matching funds and engage with elected officials and leaders.
“StriveTogether shares the belief with KaBOOM! that the well-being of communities starts with the well-being of kids,” StriveTogether President and CEO Jennifer Blatz said. “Creating shared spaces fosters community pride and helps close the racial and socioeconomic gaps that deny many children great places to play. Local change is possible when the community unites around a common vision for families and kids.”
To be considered for this opportunity, StriveTogether communities engaged in key activities at the Cradle to Career Network Convening, including providing feedback on StriveTogether’s new racial equity statement and plan and participating in the #SuccessTogether campaign. #SuccessTogether asks youth across the nation to share what success looks like and creates a positive conversation about the impact of the Cradle to Career Network.
StriveTogether partners with nearly 70 communities across the country, providing coaching, resources and rigorous approaches to create opportunities and close gaps in education, housing and so much more. Together, the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network impacts the lives of 13.7 million youth — including 8.6 million children of color — across 29 states and Washington, D.C.
KaBOOM! is the national nonprofit dedicated to giving all kids — especially those living in poverty — the childhood they deserve through great, safe places to play. KaBOOM! inspires communities to make play the easy choice and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of PLAYces. KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build or improve more than 17,000 playspaces, engage over 1.5 million volunteers and serve nearly 10 million kids. To learn why play matters for all kids, visit kaboom.org and join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom, facebook.com/kaboom, and instagram.com/kaboom. #playmatters #PLAYceforKids