When it came time to choose our Chores For Charity beneficiary for March, I initially had two options to present to Josie, but KaBOOM! had her at hello. There is not a single 3 year old on the planet who would not love this mission:
KaBOOM! is a national non-profit dedicated to saving play for America’s children.
Our mission is to create great playspaces through the participation and leadership of communities. Ultimately, we envision a place to play within walking distance of every child in America.
Top Ten Things I Love About KaBOOM!
- KaBOOM! is dedicated to saving play for America’s children. What a fun mission! Enough said.
- Through a special initiative, KaBOOM! is raising money to build playgrounds in communities affected by Hurricane Sandy in coastal New Jersey and New York. I ♥ the Jersey Shore.
- They are a 4–Star Charity on Charity Navigator. KaBOOM! spends 84.8% of revenue on program expenses. According to the American Institute of Philanthropy, a charity is considered highly efficient when they spend 75% or more on program expenses. I love a charity with good financial practices!
- The Map of Play initiative encourages volunteerism among children and a “get out and play” mentality. The concept is simple. Visit a playground, snap some pictures, upload a review and it is entered into a database of playgrounds. How cool is this? You can volunteer and help this initiative by going out and playing with your kids.
- KaBOOM! involves community members in their playground projects, empowering local residents and giving them a vested interest in maintaining the playspace. One of the biggest tenets of community development is that you must have buy-in. KaBOOM! gets buy-in.
- According to the website, KaBOOM! has built, opened and improved 14,232 playgrounds since its founding 15 years ago. In 2011 alone, they built or improved 1,375. Pretty spectacular.
- Michelle Obama endorses their mission. To some this may not be a big deal, but I am crushing on her big time and think it is awesome. How can you not love this woman? She is always dressed fashionably, is smart, accomplished and has taken on childhood obesity and physical fitness as her cause. Yep, I love her.
- In addition to direct construction of playscapes, KaBOOM! offers grants to communities to build new playgrounds or enhance existing ones. Let’s face it, KaBOOM! cannot get into every corner of the country as quickly as is needed. But, they offer opportunities for entrepreneurial individuals and community groups to kickstart a playground project in their neighborhoods.
- The effects of play in a child’s life are real. Kids who play are healthier and less likely to be obese. Physical play leads to stronger academic achievement. Play helps children develop strong social skills. Need I say more?
- KaBOOM! is giving children the gifts of memories. I have distinct memories of playing on the school playground as a child. I can still feel the burning on the back of my legs as I conquered the metal slide in the middle of summer. I remember crawling through the jungle gym made out of recycled tires and the blackness of my fingertips when I was finished. I’ve never forgotten the sense of accomplishment when I crossed the monkey bars for the first time all by myself. Every child should have memories like this. And KaBOOM! is working to make that happen.
So, what do you think? If you love play as much as I do, help spread the word about KaBOOM! by sharing this post with your friends. And, while you are at it, share your favorite play memories in the comments section below.
Do you remember:
The feeling of sliding down a hot metal slide?
Feeling like you could reach the clouds as you flew through the air on a swing?
Crossing the monkey bars for the first time?
Making friends at the playground?