The students of Cole Elementary School in Antioch, Tennessee began their day without a playground. Just six hours later, they had a place to swing, slide and laugh.
With the help of volunteers from the Nashville Predators Foundation, Cole Elementary, KaBOOM! and residents of the Nashville community, a brand new playground was constructed by mid-afternoon on Thursday to get the kids playing outside once again.
No more is the 30-year-old, outdated structure that once stood at Cole. Instead, an intuitive, interactive space, painted in the colors of white, blue and Preds Gold no less, gives students the chance to simply be a kid.
“We are here with 200 volunteers and they’re all here today to create a great place to play for the kids who attend here at Cole Elementary,” KaBOOM! Project Manager Brenna Hull said. “It’s a lot of work, but luckily, we have lots of hands to help us.”
This playground marks the fourth of its kind built by the Predators and partners Delek US Holdings/MAPCO Express, Hunt Brothers Pizza and SMS Holdings, along with KaBOOM!
A national non-profit dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,000 playgrounds since 1996. And that means a slew of kids enjoying the playground they deserve.
“For years, [the Cole Elementary students] have not had a safe place to play,” Hull said. “We are installing a playground, we’re putting in a soccer field, we’re building benches in the shade so teachers and parents can watch their kids play, and we’re doing it all in six hours.”
A majority of the Nashville Predators management and staff were on hand to help out, and even though the team is currently on the road, that didn’t stop members of the Preds family from joining in.
“It’s such a wonderful feeling to be able to actually come out into the community and make a difference,” Kristen Laviolette, wife of Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette, said. “Having the Foundation engaging with the school here, to make these children’s lives better by getting out, being active, being able to play and working with such wonderful volunteers in the community is fantastic.”
And while the volunteers may have ended up with a muddy pair of shoes before the day was out, the cleaning job is well worth the memories to come in Antioch.
“You wonder, ‘How could we possibly construct this magnificent playground in just six hours?’ but so many people have come out and put their hands on the tools to get it done for these kids,” Laviolette said. “It’s hard work, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s wonderful to be able to be hands-on, working with this project and making a difference.”