Denise Rentschler, City of Tempe, firstname.lastname@example.org, 480-350-5209 or 480-204-3864
Mike Vietti, KaBOOM!, email@example.com, 785-320-2137 or 352-278-0522
Tempe, Ariz – With research proving play is critical to the overall well-being of children, 217 cities and towns, including Tempe, earned recognition from national non-profit KaBOOM! as 2013 Playful City USA communities for their efforts to give children the childhood they deserve by providing ample opportunities for play.
“Tempe is honored to once again be selected as a Playful City USA,” said Mayor Mark Mitchell. “Kids of all ages should enjoy the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle and in Tempe, we understand that play is vital to increasing quality of life. We’re proud to offer a fun and safe community for children and families to enjoy.”
KaBOOM!, the national non-profit organization dedicated to giving kids the childhood they deserve by bringing play to those who need it most, created Playful City USA in 2007 to help local governments address the lack of play and it is through mayors, city council members, parks and recreation departments, school districts and community leaders that the program succeeds in benefitting 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. Playful City USA communities like Tempe 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.”
Each of the 2013 Playful City USA communities demonstrated creative commitments to addressing the lack of play among children. Playful City USA celebrates and highlights these unique initiatives developed by communities across the country. A primary goal of Playful City USA is to encourage cities and towns to share ideas, concepts and programs in an effort to increase play opportunities for children.
KaBOOM! selected Tempe for its outstanding dedication to play. Tempe hosts an annual PlayDay to allow community members of all ages to get out and get active. PlayDay 2013 was held on March 2 and featured structured and un-structured paly activities including kayaking, softball, football, dance and movement and much more. Tempe’s next PlayDay will be held in March 2014.
In addition, Tempe was also selected because of the Tempe 3-1-1 program, which serves as a comprehensive municipal call center that provides the community with a variety of ways to seek information, report issues and connect with the city. This new program keeps Tempe parks in their best condition as residents and community members can report issues related to parks and parks maintenances online or via a mobile application.
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving kids the childhood they deserve by bringing play to those who need it most. Children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation, a fact that is having disastrous consequences on their health, achievement levels, and overall well-being. Social entrepreneur Darell Hammond founded non-profit KaBOOM! in 1996 in Washington, D.C. with a vision of creating a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America because children need to play actively every day at home, in school and in their communities. Since then, KaBOOM! has mapped over 90,000 places to play, built more than 2,200 playgrounds, and successfully advocated for play policies in hundreds of cities across the country. KaBOOM! also provides communities with online tools to self-organize and take action to support play on both a local and national level. Hammond chronicles the founding of the organization and the importance of the cause of play in his The New York Times Best Seller KaBOOM!: A Movement to Save Play, now out in paperback. The book details how businesses and communities can work together to save play for children across the country. All author proceeds support KaBOOM!. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has an office in San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.