ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals and mascot Slapshot, So Kids Can co-founder Elliot Segal from the Elliot in the Morning show, the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) and organizers from KaBOOM! hosted a playground design day for children at the Charles Houston Recreation Center in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday, Aug. 15. The Capitals and So Kids Can are partnering with KaBOOM! and ARHA to build a playground at the Hopkins-Tancil Court development in Old Town in September.
The new S.T.A.R.S. Playground will provide hundreds of children in the Alexandria community with a safe place to play. Currently the existing playground equipment is outdated, not wheel chair accessible and in need of replacement.
During the design session Segal, Slapshot and 40 children from the neighborhood sketched their dream playgrounds. Elements from their drawings will be incorporated into the final design of the new playground to be built by So Kids Can participants Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, Brooks Laich and Segal along with 200 volunteers on Thursday, Sept. 13. The playground planning committee, which has been meeting since early January, will now have the next four weeks to finalize plans and prepare for the construction of the new playground and related side projects to create a unique family space.
Funds for the playground were raised through So Kids Can during the 2011-12 season. Capitals defenseman Green and Segal created the So Kids Can program in 2008 to benefit youth focused, nonprofit organizations. Last season Capitals forwards Backstrom and Laich also joined the cause.
The playground will be the second built by KaBOOM!, the Washington Capitals and So Kids Can. More than $75,000 was donated to KaBOOM! during the 2010-11 season to help build a Caps-themed playground at Associates for Renewal In Education in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C. That site now serves more than 600 community members.
Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority
The Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) is a public agency that has established itself in Virginia as a leader in the provision, preservation and expansion of high quality affordable housing and the empowerment of low and moderate income families in the city of Alexandria. ARHA owns and manages 883 units of publicly assisted housing. Of this total number 713 are family assisted units with another 170 units for elderly and disabled individuals. ARHA also provides educational and career advancement opportunities to residents through social service programs in an effort to help residents on a path of self-sufficiency. Of the over 7,000 residents served, roughly 1/7th are children ages 4 to 17. Operating under the slogan of “Building Community Partnerships” ARHA takes great pride in working with a diverse group of partners to deliver value added programs and services to residents. For more information, visit www.ARHA.us.
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to saving play. Children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation, a fact that is having disastrous consequences on their health, achievement levels, and overall well-being. To fight this play deficit, social entrepreneur Darell Hammond founded non-profit KaBOOM! in 1996 in Washington, D.C. with a vision of creating a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since then, KaBOOM! has mapped over 89,000 places to play, built more than 2,100 playgrounds, and successfully advocated for play policies in hundreds of cities across the country. KaBOOM! also provides communities with online tools to self-organize and take action to support play on both a local and national level. Hammond chronicles the founding of the organization and the importance of the cause of play in his The New York Times Best Seller KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play. The book details how businesses and communities can work together to save play for children across the country. All author proceeds support KaBOOM!. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.