More than 250 volunteers arrived early Saturday, Nov. 8 at Calvert Elementary School with one goal in mind: Giving kids a new playground.
Within four hours, everyone had met the goal.
Let’s Play™ made the playground at Calvert Elementary School possible. Let’s Play™ is a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS). The company has committed $26 million since 2011 to support healthy lifestyle programs. DPS partners KaBOOM!® and Good Sports drive the Let’s Play™ initiative.
KaBOOM!® and its partners have been helping lead the way to build community playgrounds since 1995. The nonprofit organization has raised more than $200 million. And it has rallied millions of volunteers to give kids the childhood they deserve.
Good Sports helps lay the foundation for healthy, active lifestyles. The company has provided athletic equipment, footwear, and apparel to disadvantaged young people nationwide. Good Sports, Inc. has pledged to donate more than $50,000 in brand new sports equipment to various Houston-area schools.
In 2013, Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) and KaBOOM!® worked on 2,000 playgrounds nationwide. This has benefitted an estimated 5 million children. In 2014, DPS extended its partnership with KaBOOM!® through 2016. And DPS added a $10 million commitment to continue providing kids with great places to play.
It takes a lot of planning and teamwork to build a playground from the ground up. Let’s Play™ community partners helped organize the event with campus staff. After weeks of planning, everyone was ready to build.
Calvert Elementary School teachers, campus leaders, DPS, KaBOOM!® and Good Sports volunteers arrived early. Everyone hustled to their stations and got busy measuring, cutting, building and painting. To keep things moving and everyone entertained on Build Day, a DJ played music.
By noon, the volunteers had completed the new playground. Besides the playground, students can also enjoy an outdoor classroom and a music garden. Volunteers also painted a large map of the United States on a walk area. Other painted games included hopscotch and Twister. They also built benches for folks.
Calvert Elementary School also received some new sports equipment and gear. Good Sports gave the campus boxes loaded with volleyballs, basketballs, jump ropes and other items.
“It is wonderful to be a part of the Let’s Play initiative,” said Melissa Harper, chief executive officer. “Good Sports enjoys serving all school-aged children. Many often lack resources for their favorite type of play – organized sports. Kids of all ages deserve a safe place to play, and the tools to enjoy their surroundings. The good work of Let’s Play makes this possible.”
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Let’s Play representatives and school leaders thanked everyone. And they acknowledged Good Sports for donating equipment that encourages children to play.
“At Dr Pepper Snapple Group, we recognize that play is vital to a child’s development,” said Vicki Draughn, vice president of corporate affairs at DPS. “Research shows that play helps make kids healthy and happy. They need creativity, exploration and physical activities to develop. I thank our KaBOOM!® and Good Sports partners for helping give children the gift of play. And I thank all the volunteers for coming out to help create and build a great space for children to play.”
Volunteers, kids and families in the community also enjoyed a free family-friendly play event from 12:30 to 4 p.m. They enjoyed fun activities such as bouncy houses, obstacles courses, face painting and snacks. The celebration also included games and prizes for kids of all ages.
Folks who attended the celebration also had a chance to meet Houston Dynamo defender Anthony Arena. He partnered with Let’s Play™ to get kids outside and active.
Children and their families learned about practical ways to make play a daily priority. Research shows that kids are becoming more sedentary and not getting the activity they need. The Center for Disease and Control (CDC) recommends 60 minutes of physical activity per day.
School leaders appreciated the new playground for kids and lauded all the volunteers.
“I thank all the folks at Dr Pepper Snapple, KaBOOM!® and Good Sports for everything they have done,” said Principal Cheryl Lafleur. “They made the new playground possible for kids,” said Principal Cheryl Lafleur.