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Flyers Charities, KaBOOM and Wells Fargo to help build a new playground

by Anthony SanFilippo / Philadelphia Flyers
Crystal Sanchez, a soon-to-be fourth grader, wants a seesaw. She wants a slide, monkey bars and a swing set.

Michael Nieves is thinking a little bigger. He wants a trampoline and a go-kart track.

“It would be for 12-year-olds and up,” he said. No wonder, he’s heading into seventh grade.

His little sister Victoria has other ideas.

“I want a trampoline too,” she said. “And swings and a slide. And six-year-olds can go too.” No surprise, she’s headed into first grade.

But if anyone has grand ideas it’s Emmanuel Thomas.

“I want a giant water slide and a zip line that goes into a pool,” he said. “But then I want monkey bars with rings to do gymnastics and a big fountain.”

For a boy headed into fifth grade, Thomas has some big dreams.

But, that’s what the Flyers wanted these kids to do.

As part of an initiative spearheaded by Philadelphia Flyers Charities, an arm of Comcast-Spectacor charities, in a partnership with Wells Fargo, the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the Impact Service Corporation, the team is working with KaBOOM To help build a new playground for the kids in a Kensington neighborhood at MacPherson Square Park.

The playground will be the first built by KaBOOM, the Philadelphia Flyers and Wells Fargo and is one of more than 150 playground builds KaBOOM will lead across the country in 2012 in an effort to provide a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.

The new playground will provide hundreds of children with a safe place to play.

Currently, McPherson Square Park only has a small amount of old playground equipment, which will be replaced.

The children of the community came together Wednesday at the MacPherson Square Library to design their dream playground by drawing their wishes on paper. The members of KaBOOM will then take those drawings and with the financial assistance of Flyers charities and Wells Fargo will build the playground in a span of six hours on Sept. 28.

Representatives from the Flyers team will take part in the build next month.

Decked out in orange Flyers t-shirts, some that were so big on the kids that they looked like full-length dresses, about 50 neighborhood children – some with the assistance of Flyers employees – rendered their playgrounds and presented them to KaBOOM for careful consideration.

“Most of our fundraising comes through Flyers’ Wives activities and events with the players,” said Mary Ann Saleski, senior vice president and executive director of Comcast-Spectacor Charities.

“They give of their time and talents to help us raise funds so we in turn can give back to the community. We want to give back to where it’s needed the most. Our tag line is, ‘If it matters to you, then it’s important to us’ and there is nothing more important than taking care of our kids and giving them a safe environment.”

Saleski said it was the first time Comcast-Spectacor Charities is working with KaBOOM, but anticipates a healthy future relationship with the popular non-profit based in Washington D.C.

“They have a very good reputation and track record,” Saleski said. “We researched them a little bit and our partner in this endeavor, Wells Fargo, has worked with them before and that was really important and that’s why we are thrilled to be working with them.”
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