After Katrina, Kids Needed Places to Play: Darell Hammond



By Contributing Op-Ed columnist
on August 24, 2015 at 10:44 AM, updated August 24, 2015 at 11:11 PM

Darell Hammond is the CEO of KaBOOM!

“Ten years ago, I received a phone call from Ginny Reynolds in the days immediately following the disaster asking KaBOOM! to come to the Gulf Coast and assist in the post-Katrina recovery by building a playground. When Katrina hit, Ginny was living in Connecticut, but she had vivid memories of an earlier storm, Hurricane Camille, which battered Bay St. Louis in 1969, when Ginny was 9 years old.

Ginny remembered vividly that after Camille, there was no place for kids to play. Playgrounds were debris piles, and kids had no place to simply be kids. Ginny Reynolds like many others, never forgot that the needs of kids were an afterthought with so many other pressing demands on the community in the wake of the storm’s destruction.

Ginny, with the help of KaBOOM!, was determined to change this.

For a long time, science has told us that play is essential to kids’ physical health, emotional wellbeing, educational progress and social development. But in the Gulf, in regions ravaged by disasters like Katrina, play means so much more. It can help kids heal emotionally and overcome toxic stress, learn and grow despite adversity.

One hundred days after Ginny’s call, we built the first playspace resulting in something incredible: it breathed life and energy into a community that had lost everything but one another. The playground gave people a place to work through grief and loss, a chance to heal together. On that first playground build more than 600 volunteers showed up to help, rallying in support of kids…”

Read the rest of the article HERE.

© 2015 | The Times Picayune A KaBOOM! playground is built at the Morris Jeff Community School with the help of volunteers on Saturday, April 18, 2015. The playground will also include sensory experiences, meditation spaces and an garden areas. (Photo by Kathleen Flynn, l The Times-Picayune)

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