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KaBOOM! names Auburn among 217 Playful City USA communities
For the Auburn Reporter
KaBOOM! Auburn is an outstanding place to play.
The national nonprofit organization today recognized Auburn as one of 217 Playful City USA communities. The honor awards cities and towns throughout the country for their efforts to provide children with ample opportunities to play.
"The City of Auburn does everything it can to support our families and their children," said Mayor Pete Lewis. "That includes promoting programs that help kids learn, stay healthy and grow to be supportive members of our community."
KaOOM! lauded Auburn for making strong investments in creating opportunities for play for all children.
Auburn's playful activities include a free summer program that provides recreational activities as well as meals for youth in need and also transportation to after-school sports programs.
As part of the Playful City USA program, the City of Auburn was award a $20,000 Let's Play grant in 2011 for the playground renovations at Game Farm Park, was awarded $20,000 at the beginning of the year to go toward the new playground at the new Lea Hill Park, and recently received a $15,000 grant from KaBOOM! for new outdoor fitness equipment at Game Farm Park.
Sponsored by the Humana Foundation, Playful City USA is a national program from KaBOOM! that celebrates and promotes local policies that increase play opportunities for children and is a key platform in combating the lack of play among children.
"Kids need to play actively, every day, at home, in school and in their communities, yet play is disappearing," said Darell Hammond, founder and CEO of KaBOOM! and author of The New York Times Best Seller, "KaBOOM!: A Movement to Save Play".
"Children spend nearly eight hours a day in front of a screen; almost half of all poor students are deprived of recess; and to make matters worse, only one in five children live within walking distance of a park," Hammond said. "Playful City USA communities like Auburn are creating innovative programs and initiatives and deserve recognition because of their efforts to give kids the childhood they deserve and best prepare them for their future."
The 217 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 the Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide. Grant recipients will be announced in the fall.
For more information on the KaBOOM! Playful City USA program, including Let's Play grants and applications for 2014, visit www.playfulcityusa.org.
Details about playing in Auburn can be found online at www.auburnwa.gov/play, through the Parks, Arts & Recreation Guide, which is available at the Parks, Arts & Recreation Administration Building, Auburn Regional Library, and Auburn City Hall, or by calling 253-931-3043.