“Some of the most innovative concepts and cost-effective programs are being developed in Playful City USA communities,” said KaBOOM! Founder and CEO Darell Hammond. “Cities like Brentwood are key allies in the fight to combat the play deficit and serve as outstanding role models for government and community leaders across the country.”
A total of 213 cities and towns in 41 states earned recognition as 2012 Playful City USA communities for their efforts to increase play opportunities for children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is critical to healthy brain development. It allows children to use their creativity while simultaneously developing imagination, dexterity and physical, cognitive and emotional strength.
Yet today’s children spend less time playing outside than any previous generation, in part because only one in five live within walking distance of a park or playground. The resulting play deficit is making a profound impact on kids physically, socially and academically.
Presented by The Humana Foundation since 2007, Playful City USA is a national program advocating for local policies that increase play opportunities for children and is a key platform in combating the play deficit.
Among the reasons KaBOOM! selected Brentwood for its outstanding dedication to play: Brentwood and its school districts have established joint-use agreements for recreational facilities for more than 30 years. These mutually beneficial partnerships provide students access to a variety of recreation programs and the sharing of school gymnasiums and pools. In fact, the city intentionally established parks near schools to offer additional play spaces.
The 213 Playful City USA communities are now eligible for $15,000, $20,000 and $30,000 grants via Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group, intended to get kids and families active nationwide. Grant recipients will be announced on June 4.
For more information on the KaBOOM! Playful City USA program, including Let’s Play grants and applications for 2013, visit www.playfulcityusa.org.