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Penguins Employees Give Back by Building Playground

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins staff members took a “recess” from work on Friday – to build a playground at Weil Elementary School in the Hill District.

Over 40 Penguins employees (including Iceburgh) teamed up with volunteers from the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Heinz Endowments, the Hill District Consensus Group, the Hill District Education Council, Pittsburgh Public Schools, and organizers from KaBOOM! – the national non-profit organization dedicated to “saving play” and encouraging kids to play outdoors.

When the volunteers arrived bright and early on Friday morning, an empty site sat waiting for them. By about 2:30 that afternoon, a brand-new playground occupied the formerly vacant space. Thanks to their incredible efforts, more than 200 local kids in the community now have a safe place to play.


The volunteers were initially divided into a number of groups, each working on a different aspect of the playground. And it wasn't just a playground that the volunteers added to the space – they also built rock walls, painted various asphalt games that included twister, hopscotch and four square, and planted a beautiful nature walk with a shaded area and benches.

Arguably the most arduous task of the day was spreading mulch over the entire site before the finished structure could be put into place. That was perhaps the most challenging part of the day. But it was all worth it to see the final product, knowing how much joy it will bring to the school’s students and other children in the community.

This is the second playground project Penguins employees have participated in. Three years ago, they constructed one at the 3rd Street Park in McKees Rocks.

That was the beginning of the KaBOOM! Project called “Let’s Play,” a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group – a Penguins corporate sponsor – to get kids and families active nationwide.

Their first initiative was a $15 million, three-year commitment to KaBOOM! to build or fix up 2,000 playgrounds by the end of 2013, benefitting an estimated five million children across the U.S.

They achieved their goal, but didn’t stop there. Earlier this year, Dr Pepper Snapple Group committed another $11 million to expand its efforts to make active play a daily priority in the lives of kids, families and communities.

More than 1 million kids will benefit from Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s partnership with KaBOOM! through 2016 with a $10 million commitment to build new playgrounds and improve existing ones. And now, thanks to the efforts of everyone involved, that includes the students of Weil Elementary School and children living in the Hill District.




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