Impact

Levings Park in Rockford, IL Does a Healing Communities Through Play™ Project

On June 9, 2017, Play 4 ALL, a division of Cunningham Recreation, accomplished its third Healing Communities Through Play ™ project in Rockford, IL. Together with the Rockford Parks Dept., Rockford PD, County Sheriff’s office, and Sharefest volunteers, a brand new playground was built in Levings Park. Local installer, Custom Playgrounds, generously donated their labor and equipment to prep the land and to supervise the volunteer driven build.

“The Healing Communities playground build was a great success. The project brought together a variety of members of the community to renovate a playground in need of rejuvenation. I’m grateful for the support and assistance from the volunteers, both Sharefest and law enforcement, Custom Playgrounds, GameTime and Cunningham Recreation. We couldn’t have done it without them. Many hands truly do make light work,” says Tom Lind, LA for Rockford Park District.

Law enforcement came out in droves and stayed throughout the day to ensure that the job was complete. Local children could not wait for the remaining safety surfacing to be laid before dangling, sliding and swinging on the play elements. The teaming up of these sectors is paramount to the success of a Healing Communities project. At the end of the day, the playground is only an instrument to something much larger!

Healing Communities Through Play™ – Druid Hills Park: Charlotte, NC

On Wednesday, March 29, 2017 county residents, youth and local leaders joined Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Metro Division, and Cunningham Recreation for the second Healing Communities Through Play™ playground build at Druid Hills Park, 2801 Poinsett St. in Charlotte, NC. More than 100 volunteers worked together; police, youth and residents side by side, to build a playground.

Healing Communities Through Play™ is a new initiative that hopes to rebuild community trust and relations between local residents and law enforcement through building a playground. The program provides opportunities for police, youth, local residents and leaders to interact, communicate, get to know one another and focus on our commonalities rather than our differences. We are hoping this small initiative finds it way throughout the United States and starts to help in mending community relations with local law enforcement. One small step in the right direction. “It’s a small idea, but one that can hopefully change negative perceptions and have a positive impact on our local communities,” says Officer Chelsea Kidder with the CMPD.

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Healing Communities Through Play™ – Pilot Project: Ferguson, MO

Healing Communities Through Play™ is a Play 4 ALL initiative that focuses on bringing residents and Law Enforcement Officers together to work cooperatively on designing and building play and fitness areas that benefit the entire community. The gift of play provides children and families the opportunity to exercise, foster friendships and hone in on vital developmental skills.
Play is a great equalizer that powerfully and neutrally reaches people.

Healing Communities Through Play™ Pilot Community Build Playground Project – The City of Ferguson leadership including Mayor and Police Chief, St. Louis area Fraternal Order of Police, Ferguson Parks and Recreation Department, community youth and local residents all came together in a cooperative effort to build a playground, and bring the power of play to the Ferguson Community Center on September 29, 2016.

Play transcends boundaries and speaks to our universal humanity. Regardless of people’s origin, race, socioeconomic status or ability, play bridges presumed differences and fosters connections. In a polarizing world, play brings people together. What is fractured can be reassembled, stronger than before. It takes trust, goodwill, community service and a common vision built upon mutual respect. This playground project in Ferguson is only one step, it may seem small to many but it’s a step in the right direction. Join Play 4 ALL in healing communities through play™ across America.

For more information on how you can bring this initiative to your city to foster healing and reconnect your community, please call us at 800.438.2780 ext. 139 or email us at victoria@play4allcampaign.com.

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Brendan’s Playground – O’ Fallon

The opportunity for children to play is critical for EVERY child regardless of their ability. When O’ Fallon Missouri Mayor Hennessy vowed to bring an inclusive playground to his community, he wasted no time to get started on raising both the awareness and necessary funding for Brendan’s Playground. Brendan Schmitt, a resident of O’ Fallon inspired the Mayor with his tenacious spirit and contagious laughter. Often Brendan will say “Playgrounds make me feel powerful”. Brendan, as well as thousands of other children, benefit from a play place where both physical and social barriers are removed. In less than a year, O’ Fallon was able to contract Unlimited Play and have Cunningham Recreation design the playground using a “Bugs Life” theme going beyond the ADA standards of accessibility to create an inclusive playground where children of ALL abilities can play together. The playground was dedicated before a crowd of over 1000 people and Brendan stole the show by throwing his arms in the air shouting “Let’s Play!”

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Brendan’s Playground is one of my very favorite projects serving as Mayor of O’ Fallon, MO. The playground reminds our community that no matter your age or your ability, everyone deserves to be able to have access to play. Mayor Bill Hennessy, O’ Fallon, MO

Kade’s Playground – Herculaneum

The small community of Herculaneum, located 40 minutes south of St. Louis, rallied around the Bauman family to create a place where EVERYONE can play. With Unlimited Play (local non-profit and GameTime partner) City officials and Parks Board leading the way, philanthropic gifts of over $700,000 were raised to partner with Cunningham Recreation and to bring a Volcano themed playground in honor of Kade Bauman who passed away at the young age of 3. Donors who made this dream a reality ranged from corporations to Mom and Pop businesses, schools, and other non-profits. The St. Louis Cardinals even provided a grant and sent out their mascot, Fredbird, to test out the equipment.

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Play is so important for kids! Thanks to the community’s outpour of support, Kade’s Playground is providing a place for ALL kids to play in Jefferson County and the surrounding areas. Annette Bauman, Kade and Jackson’s mom

Trends in Outdoor Recreation – Hornets Nest Park

One of the fastest growing trends in outdoor recreation is obstacle course races. GameTime Challenge Course is designed to engage children and families, together, to engage in multi-generational fitness and recreation. Partnering with the Carolina Panthers and Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Hornets’ Nest Park in Charlotte, NC is an official Play 60 site featuring a GT Challenge Course. The Play 60 initiative encourages kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to reverse childhood obesity. This outdoor fitness destination CONNECTS people of all ages and backgrounds to socialize and develop good physical fitness habits. Play and physical fitness breaks down barriers and fosters community by enhancing quality of life.

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