Innovative Partnership Brings Play to Kids in Crisis
In August 2016, Louisiana was devastated by catastrophic flooding. Greenbrier Elementary School in Baton Rouge was severely damaged and had to close for the entire school year. All of the school’s play equipment was lost in the flood, and the students had to double up at an already overcrowded middle school that didn’t have a playground. Many of the kids’ homes were flooded beyond repair. They lost everything they had.
After a crisis, kids use play to balance and restore normalcy in their lives. Play is the business of childhood, and in its absence, kids experience anxiety and stress that can turn toxic if not given an outlet. To make sure play is always an option regardless of circumstances, the national non-profit KaBOOM! partners with companies to bring play to the kids who need it most. Sometimes, building a playground isn’t an option. That’s where the creative play system Imagination Playground™ fills a vital need.
A collection of big blue blocks made of safe and sustainable foam, the innovative loose-parts playground acts as a mobile playspace that can enhance or in some cases replace a built-environment jungle gym. Kids who use it develop crucial skills like communication, collaboration and creativity. For kids at Greenbrier and others who have experienced trauma, Imagination Playground™ provides a critical role in their healing. The creative play system gives communities with few or no other options a way for kids to stay active, and gives the kids a safe haven from toxic stress. It helps those kids reduce anxiety and build resilience while their lives return to normal.
Immediately following the flood, The CarMax Foundation partnered with KaBOOM! to deliver the Imagination Playground™ to Greenbrier Elementary. Since 2011, The CarMax Foundation has provided funding for 40 creative play sets through its national partnership with KaBOOM!, and this year the organizations built their 50th playground together.
Every year, The CarMax Foundation makes significant investments to ensure that all kids get the play they need to thrive. These investments support CarMax’s social philanthropy commitment to help kids grow up healthy and successful. To further support kids in need or transition, The CarMax Foundation also focuses on kids from military families. Many kids experience substantial emotional impact when a parent deploys or when they have to move locations frequently. When kids face uncertainty or stress, play creates a safe buffer against the change or adversity around them. Partnerships like these are making it as easy as possible for kids with the greatest need to play, so that they can learn, explore, grow and just be kids.
For more information, contact Danielle Turnage.