Think back to when you were young…most of us lived within walking or biking distance of a park or playground, fully equipped with all of the good stuff—swings, monkey bars, slides, and, maybe, a merry-go-round.
Not so today – only 1 in 5 children live in close proximity to a facility like this. For the kids at D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s Home, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, this was the case—until recently.
A few months ago St. John’s received notice that they had been selected to receive a KaBOOM! Playground. They were thrilled! KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization, believes every child in America should have a place to play that is within walking distance. And, since it’s founding in 1996, they have built over 2,000 playgrounds around the country.
On June 8, 215 Amway employees and 100 local area volunteers arrived at St. John’s ready to transform a vacant space into a whimsical play area, complete with playground equipment. KaBoom! typically involves the kids who will benefit from each new playground in the design process. St. John’s new area was no different. The children of St. John’s Home were asked to create a “wish list” for their dream playground. The staff of KaBoom! Incorporated all of the children’s ideas into the final design!
Doug DeVos, President of Amway, joined the construction and activities throughout the day. “KaBOOM!’s mission is to give a safe place for kids to play and have a normal childhood like most of us experienced,” said DeVos. Jim Visser, Fund Development Director at St. John’s said this was being called the “best build ever” and this playground will help these kids “recapture their childhood” that so many of them have lost because of abuse and neglect.
In addition to the playground, volunteers also built new picnic tables, flower boxes, and benches.