The Akron community was revitalized today thanks to a new playground built at Suddieth Park. In less than eight hours, more than 200 volunteers from Foresters FinancialTM, United Way of Summit County, the City of Akron and non-profit KaBOOM! created the new play space, which will serve more than 1,900 children and their families in the local community for years to come. To add to the excitement and thrill of build day, National Football League players and Akron natives Doran Grant, cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Shaquille Riddick, outside linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals and Devin Smith, wide receiver for the New York Jets joined in the day’s events to support the work of United Way and help give back to their home community.
“We believe in enriching lives and building strong communities – that’s our purpose,” said Tony Garcia, President and CEO, Foresters Financial. “Playgrounds are important to communities, providing a public space where children can play safely, families can spend quality time and the community can come together. An investment in a playground is an investment in community, and we are happy to provide the Akron community with a place that families can enjoy for years to come.”
The design for the new playground is based on drawings created by neighborhood children at a special Design Day event held in April when community members met with organizers from KaBOOM! and Foresters Financial to design their dream playground. The drawings inspired the final playground design.
Foresters Financial, an international financial services provider, helps families reach their financial goals, protect themselves and make a lasting difference in their communities. This year, Foresters and KaBOOM! are proudly celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their partnership. Since 2006, Foresters has invested more than $11.5 million with KaBOOM! to build more than 130 playgrounds – including 9 in Ohio – across the US and Canada by the end of 2016. Over their 15-year lifespan, these playgrounds will provide more than 4.5 million children and their families with an opportunity to spend quality time together and enhance family well-being.
“The KaBOOM! playground project aligns perfectly with United Way’s work to combat the childhood obesity epidemic in Summit County and especially in the core City of Akron,” said Jim Mullen, United Way president and chief executive officer. “We are pleased to be a partner in bringing KaBOOM! to the families and children of North Hill and helping to get them active and playing.”
Green spaces and safe play structures where children and families can enjoy and spend time together are sparse in many high density communities. Playing outdoors is an important part of every child’s healthy development and the creation of this new playground will allow thousands of children to play safely and be active in their community.
Foresters Financial is a KaBOOM! Founding Partner and National Partner. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has been dedicated to the bold goal of ensuring that all children get the balance of active play they need to become healthy and successful adults because #playmatters.