16 Oct Utah Community Action, Discover and KABOOM! Work to End Playspace Inequity with a New Playground in Salt Lake City
The new playspace brings joy to hundreds of kids after months of playground closures
Kids at Utah Community Action Head Start in Glendale are celebrating today because they have a great new place to play. For months, representatives from Utah Community Action, Discover and KABOOM!, the nonprofit organization focused on ending playspace inequity, have been working together to increase access to playspaces for local kids with the creation of a new, kid-designed playground that was installed in September. The playground will give kids an incredible place to play close to where they live and learn, an opportunity that is often hard to achieve.
Utah Community Action provides housing, utility, and food assistance, as well as education for children and adults, to help individuals and families reach self-reliance. During the pandemic, UCA’s Head Start preschool program has operated virtually to continue providing holistic support for families and educational access for all children. As the program transitions back to in-person classes this September, students look forward to the chance to be kids again and experience some normalcy.
“The opportunity for kids to have a safe place to play and grow has never been more important,” offered Joni Clark, Chief Development Officer for Utah Community Action. “As our children develop, the opportunities presented on playgrounds for both physical and social-emotional growth are staggering. We’re grateful for another chance to partner with these committed agencies to bridge educational inequities within our community. Our children will thrive with the help of this amazing new kid-designed space for many years to come.”
In early March, kids from the surrounding community came together to draw their dream playground. The new playground, which was designed with inspiration from their drawings, will provide hundreds of kids and their families in Salt Lake City with an incredible playspace that can spark hope and enable kids to reach their full potential.
KABOOM! knows that playspaces are essential to resilience, health and childhood, and the communities who have been hit the hardest by COVID-19 – communities facing challenges already, and communities of color – are the same communities who often lack access to parks and playspaces due to historic disinvestment. The partners have teamed up to help end playspace inequity, creating a new place for kids to play that reflects the neighborhood’s unique needs and aspirations, and gives every kid the opportunity to experience the joys of childhood.
“We know disasters and crises often exacerbate the inequities that communities are already experiencing, and in many communities, kids won’t have a playground to go back to once the COVID-19 crisis is over,” says James Siegal, CEO of KABOOM!. “We must stop the playspace inequities from becoming even deeper after we get through this pandemic, giving every kid the chance to play and just enjoy being a kid.”
Through its partnership with Discover, KABOOM! is committed to ending playspace inequity for kids, for communities, for good. Discover employees have volunteered to build more than 30 playgrounds with KABOOM! across the country over the last 20 years , including one last year with Utah Community Action.
“While we are disappointed that COVID-19 prevented Discover employees from showcasing their skills and dedication to our value of volunteerism through this build, we are glad we could provide the financial support to get this playground built and ready to use for the children served by Utah Community Action,” said Rich Simon, Director of Consumer Lending Bank Operations at Discover.
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.
About Utah Community Action
Founded in 1965, Utah Community Action is a nationally recognized provider of comprehensive services for income-eligible families. Their six core programs—Head Start, Adult Education, Case Management & Housing, Nutrition, HEAT, and Weatherization—address barriers to self-sufficiency to empower individuals, strengthen families, and build communities. Utah Community Action is an equal opportunity provider. For more information, visit www.utahca.org/ or receive updates from facebook.com/ utahcommunityaction or instagram.com/utahcommunityaction.
Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a digital banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America’s cash rewards pioneer, and offers private student loans, personal loans, home loans, checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit through its banking business. It operates the Discover Global Network comprised of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance around the world. For more information, visit www.discover.com/company.
KABOOM! is the national non-profit that works to achieve playspace equity. Kids who don’t have access to play miss out on childhood and are denied critical opportunities to build physical, social and emotional health. And all too often, it more deeply affects communities of color. So we amplify the power of communities to build inspiring playspaces that spark unlimited opportunities for every kid, everywhere. KABOOM! has teamed up with partners to build or improve 17,000+ playspaces, engage more than 1.5 million community members and bring joy to more than 11 million kids.