Nearly 300 volunteers from the local community, Disney, city of Anaheim, Thomas Edison Elementary School and Anaheim Family YMCA joined together to build a new KaBOOM! playground and learning garden for hundreds of Anaheim children.
The new playground, which was based on designs created by the children it will serve, was fully assembled in two days. The new learning garden at nearby Thomas Edison Elementary School will teach children how to grow vegetables, furthering their knowledge about healthy food and nutrition.
“Projects like building this KaBOOM! playground can make all the difference in a community,” said Disneyland Resort President George A. Kalogridis. “We are proud to work alongside our community partners and our Disneyland Resort neighbors to build a place where families can enjoy time together and be active – inspiring our children toward a healthy lifestyle.”
Companywide, Disney is championing the well-being of kids and families, contributing more than $1 million in 2011 to assist KaBOOM! in building playgrounds and learning gardens in 13 communities across the U.S. These playgrounds are part of Disney Magic of Healthy Living, a multimedia initiative designed to partner with parents in their quest to raise healthy, happy kids by reinforcing their work and inspiring kids to make healthy lifestyles fun. As part of the initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama and stars from Disney Channel and Disney XD are featured in Disney Magic of Healthy Living inspirational public service announcements, which provide tips on nutrition and activities that make healthy living fun.
“This collaborative project embodies the Y’s commitment to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility,” said Paul Andresen, president and CEO of the Anaheim Family YMCA. “Through our work with Activate Anaheim, the Y and its partners are making improvements that promote healthy, active lifestyles for families throughout our community.”
Planning for the playground began in April when local children and community leaders met with organizers from Disney and KaBOOM! to design their dream playground. The children’s drawings were used to create the final playground design.
“There is nothing more exciting for a neighborhood than the creation of a new place to play,” said Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait. “Thanks to the hard work of hundreds of volunteers, Anaheim children now have a new park playground to safely enjoy. On behalf of all our residents, I would like to thank the Disneyland Resort, KaBOOM!, the Anaheim Family YMCA and Thomas Edison School for making this project a reality.”
“The Thomas Edison School community—from parents to students and staff—are excited to be part of this collaborative effort that brings additional learning opportunities about healthy living to the children of this community,” said Dr. Patricia Sandoval, principal of Thomas Edison Elementary School.
In addition to the community-built playground and learning garden, the new play area also includes Imagination Playground in a Cart – a breakthrough playspace concept designed by architect David Rockwell to encourage child-directed, unstructured free play. Via manipulable loose parts and natural elements like sand and water, Imagination Playground in a Cart allows children to constantly change their environment and design their own course of play.
Adults are also able to visit the park and be active with five ENERGI fitness stations, which combine to offer 120 total exercises. These stations provide a workout that offers three levels of intensity so that everyone can custom-build their workout.
KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to saving play. For 15 years, KaBOOM! has been fighting the Play Deficit, and this project is one of more than 200 playground builds KaBOOM! will lead across the country in 2011 in an effort to provide a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.
Photos courtesy Disneyland Resort.