Community Joins Forces with Nonprofits to Promote Equity in Play Spaces in Kansas City, KS
On August 17, children at Parkwood Park in Kansas City, KS, celebrated the debut of a playground designed for children and built by the community. The months-long collaboration between the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS, Vibrant Health, CarMax Foundation and KABOOM! ended that day when more than 150 volunteers built a new play space that would spark joy and foster a sense of belonging for 300 children each year at Parkwood Park.
“Playgrounds are safe spaces where children can develop important physical, social and emotional skills,” said Ángel Ferrara, director of Parks and Recreation for the Unified Government. “This is a much needed improvement for the park, thanks to our community partners!”
The new playground was a collaborative effort of community members, including children, who submitted creative ideas for their dream playground during a Design Day in June.
“Vibrant Health is excited to be a part of building a new playground in the northeast area of Kansas City, Kansas,” said Matthew Kleinmann, director of community development for Vibrant Health. “By emphasizing the important role of neighborhoods in shaping health outcomes, this project not only supports our strong community building efforts, but also helps residents of all age in Wyandotte County with “better access to safe places for physical activity and play.”
Play is the essence of childhood and a critical developmental need that provides countless physical, social, and mental health benefits. However, many children, especially in communities of color, do not have a place to play near where they live or learn.
BOOM! working to end inequality in playgrounds, ensuring that children have access to quality places to play, a necessary part of every child’s life. Parkwood Park’s new playground, designed with the unique needs and aspirations of the neighborhood in mind, brings Kansas City one step closer to ending playground inequality and ensuring that every child has opportunity to experience the joys and benefits of the game.
“Playgrounds are a symbolic part of childhood. They are not only the place where children make some of their best memories, but also the place where they develop important skills that develop their physical, mental and emotional well-being,” said Lysa Ratliff, CEO of KABOOM!. “KABOOM! is excited to work with our partners to bring the new playground to Parkwood Park and ensure that the children of Kansas City have a place to designed for them, where they can play, learn and unlock their greatest potential.
The CarMax Foundation provided the majority of the funding for the new playground through a $3.9 million partnership with KABOOM!, furthering its commitment to ending playground inequality. Over the past decade, the Foundation has invested $17.5 million to create 200 play spaces and has volunteer support for more than 11,000 CarMax associates across the country.
“CarMax is proud to partner with the local communities where we live and work to provide access to playgrounds for children who need them,” said Jason Ancarrow, president of the CarMax Foundation. “It’s exciting to help bring to life a playground designed by and for the community, and our partners are motivated by volunteering and working with families who will enjoy the playgrounds for years to come.”