Today, kids at Neighborhood House are celebrating as the organization debuts a kid-designed playground. The months-long collaboration between Neighborhood House, Discover, Delaware Community Foundation, and KABOOM! culminated this week as more than 150 volunteers installed the new playspace, which will offer hundreds of kids a high-quality, safe place to play that is close to where they live and learn.
The new playground was a collaborative effort by community members, including kids, who presented creative ideas for their dream playground during a design day in September. The new playground is inspired by those drawings and will provide hundreds of kids and their families with a new place to get active, build social bonds, and gather as a community.
“Throughout the community of Southbridge, we hear the echo of youth voices of all ages saying, ‘We need a safe place to be included and we need something to do!’ A recent Southbridge community survey taken by Neighborhood House, and numerous surveys across the community in recent years, have resulted in a reoccurring theme: there are not enough supervised activities in Southbridge and safe places for our youth to be engaged,” shared Alison Windle, Executive Director of Neighborhood House, Inc. She continues, “Part of our vision for 2022 is to open a pre-school classroom that organically feeds into our school-age program. We needed a playground for this age group. Additionally, and just as important, Neighborhood House families are pleading for somewhere for our kids to play under supervision. Thankfully, our partners at KABOOM, DISCOVER, and Delaware Community Foundation are making it all possible!"
Play is essential to the physical, social, and emotional health of every child. However, historic disinvestment and exclusion caused by systemic racism have denied generations of children equitable access to parks and playgrounds, disproportionately affecting communities of color. The new playground at Neighborhood House, designed with the neighborhood’s unique needs and aspirations in mind, brings Wilmington one step closer toward ending playspace inequity and ensuring that every kid has the opportunity to experience the joys of childhood.
“Playgrounds are an iconic part of childhood. They’re not only where kids collect some of their best memories, but also where crucial skills are developed that nurture their physical, mental, and emotional well-being,” said Lysa Ratliff, CEO of KABOOM!. “KABOOM! is thrilled to work with our partners to bring to life the new playspace at Neighborhood House and ensure that kids in Wilmington have a place designed just for them, where they can play, learn, and unlock their greatest potential.”
Discover has provided support for the new playground through its partnership with KABOOM!, furthering its commitment to ending playspace inequity. The two have a longstanding partnership and this event marks the 41st playground built across the nation, and the third in Delaware.
“The playground that we are building is a critical part of allowing Neighborhood House to offer a new pre-school classroom,” said Amy Walls, community affairs at Discover. “Through volunteering, Discover is able to impact a community close to home and provide additional education activities for local children.”
Delaware Community Foundation has provided support for the new playground through its partnership with KABOOM!, furthering its commitment to ending playspace inequity.
“At the Delaware Community Foundation, we believe communities are strongest when all people have the opportunity to thrive,” DCF President and CEO Stuart Comstock-Gay said. “We are excited to have the opportunity to support a safe, healthy place for children to play.”
To ensure that playgrounds are able to open safely in every community, KABOOM! has issued important playground guidance that all communities, playground owner/operators and caregivers can follow. The guidance can be viewed or downloaded at kaboom.org/reopen.