April 18, 2013
The playground will be instaled May 31 on the campus of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul
By Jessica Able
Record Staff Writer
Few things bring a brighter smile to a child’s face than a playground full of swings, slides, and monkey bars.But kids who live on the Society of St. Vincent de Paul campus and in the surrounding Smoketown neighborhood do not have easy access to a playground.Now, thanks to the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM!, a nonprofit organization that helps communities build playgrounds, children in this area will have a brand-new place to play this summer. And it will be a playground they helped to design.
The project is part of the Let’s Play initiative, a partnership led by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, to motivate children and their families to get active, said Randy Bright, market manager for the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. The Dr. Pepper Snapple Group has pledged a three-year, $15 million commitment to KaBOOM! to build or renovate 2,000 playgrounds in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.Representatives from KaBOOM! contacted the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in early March about constructing a new playground on the campus, said Nancy Naughton, associate executive director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
Bright said that while this is the fifth playground project he has been a part of the excitement of the children never gets old.” Just coming down here and seeing the kids’ faces and the parent involvement. What they are willing to commit is amazing,” he said.
An integral part of the process is getting the kids involved, said Brenna Hull, the project manager for KaBOOM! Children who are residents of the apartments on the St. Vincent de Paul campus were invited to a design meeting April 2 at the society’s Open Hand Kitchen, 1026 S. Jackson St. “We want you to be involved every step of the way,” Hull told the children at the design meeting.Hull asked the children present why a playground is important.
One responded “So we aren’t bored.” Another said, “To get exercise.” And a third child simply said, “To have fun.”Using crayons and markers, about 15 youngsters drew their dream playgrounds on large sheets of paper. Some drew trampolines, rock-climbing walls and swimming pools. Others colored swing sets, spiral slides,
and four-square courts.