PlayBuild Named Winner in KaBOOM! Play Everywhere Challenge

$15K Grant Will Fund Phase One of PL@Y MLK Bringing Play to the MLK Neutral Ground

[NEW ORLEANS, LA]. – This week, PlayBuild was selected as a winner in the Play Everywhere Challenge, a $1 million national competition that will award innovative ideas to make play easy, available, and fun for kids and families in cities across the U.S. The Challenge is hosted by KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, particularly those growing up in poverty in America.

PlayBuild, in partnership with the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking at Tulane University will receive $15,000 of funding to launch Phase One of PL@Y MLK – transforming the neutral ground of the Martin Luther King corridor in Central City as a weekend play destination for kids and families.

PL@Y MLK was selected as one of 50 winners out of a pool of more than 1,000 applications nationwide.

Working in collaboration with Taylor and local community partners, PlayBuild will deploy a mobile PL@Y MLK play station full of large and small-scale toys, games and creative play activities on the MLK neutral ground. Temporary seating will enable kids and families to gather and play.

Phase One will see the launch of the first mobile play station on MLK in November. Later phases of the project will see the rollout of additional themed play stations, which will be housed with community partners along MLK Boulevard between Simon Bolivar and Claiborne Avenues. PlayBuild will fundraise an additional $30K with a goal of implementing the project fully by mid-2017.

The Play Everywhere Challenge was developed in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Target, Playworld, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Endowment for the Arts. It has attracted an outpouring of creative ideas to spark kids’ imaginations and get their bodies moving.

The PL@Y MLK concept came from a desire to reach more Central City, New Orleans kids with PlayBuild’s unique program to engage them in design-themed play with a range of innovative toys and materials. PlayBuild operates from a formerly blighted that has been converted into an outdoor classroom. PlayBuild’s play space is located at 2828 Thalia Street, one block from Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Angela Kyle, Playbuild co-founder explains: PL@Y MLK originated from a neighborhood experience in April 2016 with the Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking. Feedback from residents of the MLK corridor between Simon Bolivar and Claiborne Avenues confirmed that access to everyday play spots is a challenge. Kids still lack play opportunities within a safe walking distance. Creating and regularly mobilizing our portable play station along MLK, we hope to address that challenge.

PlayBuild will work closely with with local anchor institutions like churches and community centers and will recruit neighborhood residents and Tulane University students to help implement, refine the designs, run play stations, and monitor and evaluate impact.. Research shows play is vital to healthy brain development and is pivotal to how kids learn problem-solving, conflict resolution, and creativity–in other words, the skills they need to succeed as adults. Yet today, too many kids, especially those growing up in poverty, are missing out on opportunities for play because of families’ time pressures, the lure of screens, and a lack of safe places to go. Meanwhile, evidence shows missing out on play time puts kids at risk for challenges ranging from obesity to anxiety to trouble adjusting in school.

“Winners like PlayBuild and the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking are at the vanguard of building kid-friendly cities that meet the needs of families and enable kids to thrive,” said James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!. “By integrating play into everyday spaces in such an innovative way, PL@Y MLK is a great model to inspire other cities across the country to follow suit.”

“Winning this challenge is a win for New Orleans kids, and for their chances to grow and develop through play,” said Angela Kyle, Co-founder of PlayBuild applicant. “This prize will help us build on the work we are doing in Central City by creating a portable and visible way for PlayBuild to have a presence on the MLK corridor and meet more neighborhood kids and parents. We hope this prize will be a bellwether for Central City and set an example for all of New Orleans. Starting here on the neutral ground we can design a real, radical transformation to make play a way of life for all kids and families in our community. PL@Y MLK addresses equity issues in New Orleans at ground zero by making play accessible especially in underserved neighborhoods.”

To learn more about PlayBuild’s ideas for making play happen everywhere in Central City, and across New Orleans, and to express interest in partnering with PL@Y MLK contact PlayBuild co-founder Angela Kyle by email at info@playbuild.org.

Visit PlayBuild online at: www.playbuild.org, on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/PlayBuild, and follow on Twitter: @PlayBuild_NOLA

For press queries contact Amy Barrios at MultiMedia Solutions by phone at 504-621-5646

To learn more about the Play Everywhere Challenge, and view a gallery of winning ideas from cities across the US, please visit http://kaboom.org/playeverywhere.

 

About PlayBuild
PlayBuild is a three-year old education non-profit based in Central City. PlayBuild’s mission is to transform under-utilized urban spaces into dynamic play environments for kids. In 2013, PlayBuild turned a blighted lot on Thalia Street into an outdoor classroom, hosting neighborhood charter schools for after-school activities. In 2014 PlayBuild partnered with Palmisano Contractors to fulfill the dream of a permanent play space with an open-air classroom, green space and a garden. Beyond Central City, throughout the year PlayBuild produces pop-up play events for kids and families in partnership with local community organizations. For more info please visit: www.playbuild.org. You can follow PlayBuild on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/PlayBuild, and on Twitter at @PlayBuild_NOLA

 

About the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Design Thinking and Social Innovation
Taylor dissolves boundaries and inspires collaboration between students, staff, faculty, and community members to develop innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social and environmental problems. Founded in 2014 with a generous gift from Phyllis M. Taylor, the center coalesces campus and community engagement in social innovation, social entrepreneurship, and design thinking, providing a unique interdisciplinary inter-section of thought and action on our campus and in our local and global community. Activities at Taylor include an academic minor, workshops, speakers, competitions, and other programs working with diverse faculty, staff, students and community partners.

###

PlayBuild wins Play Everywhere grant to bring mobile play stations to Central City New Orleans

After months of hard work, we are thrilled to be able to share our vision for PL@Y MLK and to announce that we are among the 50 winners of the Play Everywhere Challenge, a KaBOOM-hosted, nationwide contest to bring play to everyday places and spaces in underserved communities.

The seed for PL@Y MLK was planted in April 2016, when we partnered with the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking for our second Fast 48 Design Thinking Boot Camp. Thirty design thinkers joined us for 48 hours over a weekend to rapid prototype community development ideas that would help PlayBuild engage a broader cross section of organizations in Central City. Plus help us serve more children in that neighborhood, which is home to our outdoor classroom where we do afterschool programming and host field trips.

Fast 48 Design Thinking Workshop 2016 -

playbuild-tulanetaylorcenter-fast48-1295-1200b

Fast 48 Design Thinking Workshop 2016 - Mapping the neighborhood around PlayBuild's Thalia Street outdoor location

A key insight from neighbors and community residents was a need for PlayBuild to raise its visibility in the neighborhood (our classroom site is tucked away on a side street) and offer more frequent opportunities for community members to engage with PlayBuild’s programming and play activities. In addition, several members of the church across the street from our site expressed a desire for us to bring our outreach program to them and engage their youth ministry in much the same way that we engage with local schools.

Based on this feedback, one of the Fast 48 teams brainstormed solutions for “hyper local play.” This concept eventually evolved into the idea of “pop-up play events,” targeting a tightly-focused pedestrian zone within a 5-10 block distance of our Thalia Street home base.

Graphic showing first phase of Play MLK initiative, planned for MLK Blvd in Central City, New Orleans

When the KaBOOM Play Everywhere Challenge was announced in May, we pulled our team of weekend warriors back together and went to work on developing this kernel of an idea into a viable proposal.

We needed to create a mobile version of the ‘PlayBuild experience’ that would function as an extension of PlayBuild, yet enable us to broaden our reach and expand our neighborhood footprint. Almost like “PlayBuild To Go.”

Luckily, we knew just the people to ask! Leslie and Sam Davol, co-founders of the UNI Project, have been friends and founding partners of PlayBuild since we started. When we reached out to them, they proposed their mini mobile cart as the perfect solution for our needs and we agreed.

We submitted our initial Play Everywhere proposal in June, and in July, we were invited to the finalist round.

In true design thinking fashion, conversations with potential local partners led us to iterate the initial concept, which we decided to brand PL@Y MLK.

A big focus of our discussion was around using the neutral ground (i.e., what we call a median in New Orleans) along Martin Luther King Boulevard as our chosen location for staging PL@Y MLK play stations. A few team members did a deep dive into the history and significance of the neutral ground as we considered the pros (visibility) and cons (safety) of situating play activities along a highly trafficked corridor.

As we grappled with this conundrum, in early and mid-July racial violence flared in Baton Rouge in the wake of Alton Sterling’s death and subsequent police shootings.

With this context, the historic significance of the neutral ground – a safe zone where two sides in a conflict were invited to come and lay down their arms – took on a greater and more urgent relevance as we considered the day-to-day lives of the children and young people in our neighborhood.

Our tag line became: “From the playground to the neutral ground.”

 

PL@Y MLK – Phase One

Our KaBOOM award will enable us to implement Phase One of our long-term plan for PL@Y MLK – to build and deploy three play stations along the MLK Boulevard corridor.

We will build and launch our first UNI cart in early November and work closely with a host partner in the neighborhood to plan and manage implementation. Tulane and the Taylor Center will provide implementation support, volunteers, evaluation, and impact assessment.

 

PL@Y MLK – Beyond

If Phase 1 is successful, we’ll raise money to build at least two more mobile play stations and partner with additional host organizations in the neighborhood to deploy them along the MLK corridor.

Our end goal is to be able to program a zone of play that comprises the eight blocks from Simon Bolivar to Claiborne Avenues and includes our Thalia Street play space.

For Immediate Release: PlayBuild AWARDED $9,000 LET’S PLAY GRANT FOR IMAGINATION PLAYGROUND

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                             

JULY 15, 2013

 

CONTACT:

Angela Kyle, angela@playbuild.org
Ashley Stoney, Ketchum on behalf of Dr Pepper Snapple Group, 202-835-9454, ashley.stoney@ketchum.com
Mike Vietti, KaBOOM!, 785-320-2137, mvietti@kaboom.org

PlayBuild AWARDED $9,000 LET’S PLAY GRANT FOR IMAGINATION PLAYGROUND™ PLAY SYSTEM FROM DR PEPPER SNAPPLE GROUP AND NATIONAL NON-PROFIT KaBOOM!

NEW ORLEANS, July 15, 2013 – Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) and national non-profit KaBOOM! awarded innovative design education non-profit PlayBuild a $9,000 Let’s Play Community Construction Grant to use toward the purchase of an Imagination Playground in a Cart™ play system as announced on July 15, 2013.

The grant is part of Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide. In 2011, as part of Let’s Play, Dr Pepper Snapple Group made a $15 million, three-year commitment to KaBOOM!, the national non-profit saving play by ensuring there is a great place to play within walking distance of every child. Together through Let’s Play, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM! will build or fix up 2,000 playgrounds by the end of 2013, benefiting an estimated five million children across North America.

“We are thrilled to be selected as a 2013 Let’s Play grant recipient.  As a start-up venture focused on design education and transforming underutilized urban spaces into dynamic creative environments for kids and families, the Imagination Playground is a key component of our vision and our strategy,” said PlayBuild founder, Angela Kyle.

Founded in November 2012, PlayBuild is on a mission to convert New Orleans’ vacant lots into ‘architectural playgrounds’.  PlayBuild’s spaces will combine innovative play equipment, toys, and learning tools, in an outdoor classroom environment.  In addition PlayBuild will program an ongoing series of engaging activities and events designed to inspire an appreciation for the rich-ness of the city’s built environment as well as exposure to an array of creative and technical career opportunities in design, architecture and related disciplines.

Targeting kids 4-12 with an initial focus on the rapidly evolving and architecturally-rich Central City neighborhood, PlayBuild is working with community organizations, neighborhood schools and an alliance of committed volunteers in the local design community to educate and inspire the next generation of New Orleanians to play an active role in building the city’s future.

Unstructured, child-directed play has been proven to help kids develop physically, socially and cognitively, yet today’s kids have less time and fewer opportunities to play than any previous generation. Imagination Playground in a Cart™ is an innovative design in play equipment that encourages creativity, communication, and collaboration in play. With a collection of custom-designed, oversized blue foam parts, Imagination PlaygroundTM provides a changing array of elements that allow children to turn their playground into a space constantly built and re-built by their imagination.

Via Let’s Play grants and projects through 2012, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM! built or improved 1,154 playgrounds, benefitting an estimated 2.8 million children during the lifetime of the playgrounds. People are encouraged to visit Let’s Play at www.LetsPlay.com to join the conversation and learn how to apply for the various available grants to make their communities more active and playful.

 

About PlayBuild

In early November 2012, PlayBuild was chosen out of over 100 submissions as a top 10 finalist in the 2012 PitchNOLA Lots of Progress competition, a social innovation pitch competition co-sponsored by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), Tulane City Center and social incubator, Propeller.  PlayBuild’s vision:  to transform vacant lots into design-themed playgrounds for kids and families in under-served New Orleans neighborhoods.

Leveraging the momentum and visibility of the competition, PlayBuild rapidly transformed from an ‘idea on paper” to a start-up non-profit venture led by founder, Angela Kyle and Programming and Operations Director, Charlotte Jones.

In eight short months, PlayBuild has achieved significant visibility by tapping local community partners and volunteers to operate temporary ‘pop-up playgrounds’ combining the unique experience of the “build it yourself” Imagination Playground with an array of hands-on design and making activities to inspire appreciation of New Orleans unique architectural heritage.

The organization is now focused on developing the flagship PlayBuild site on Thalia Street in Central City, in close proximity to neighborhood schools and the rapidly re-vitalizing Oretha Castle Haley Corridor.

PlayBuild operates under the auspices of local 501-C (3) Neighborhoods Partnership Network (NPN) as fiscal sponsor, and is seeking donations on an ongoing basis to fund ongoing operations and develop creative program offerings for New Orleans kids and families.

For more information visit www.playbuild.org.  For our latest news and updates, follow us at:  www.facebook.com/PlayBuild

 

About Let’s Play

Let’s Play is a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS) to get kids and families active nationwide. The first Let’s Play initiative is a $15 million, three-year commitment to KaBOOM!, the national non-profit that’s saving play. Together, through Let’s Play, DPS and KaBOOM! will build or fix up 2,000 playgrounds by the end of 2013, benefiting an estimated five million children across North America. For more information, visit LetsPlay.com or Facebook.com/LetsPlay.

 

About Dr Pepper Snapple Group

Dr Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS) is a leading producer of flavored beverages in North America and the Caribbean. Our success is fueled by more than 50 brands that are synonymous with refreshment, fun and flavor. We have 6 of the top 10 non-cola soft drinks, and 13 of our 14 leading brands are No. 1 or No. 2 in their flavor categories. In addition to our flagship Dr Pepper and Snapple brands, our portfolio includes 7UP, A&W, Canada Dry, Clamato, Crush, Hawaiian Punch, Mott’s, Mr & Mrs T mixers, Peñafiel, Rose’s, Schweppes, Squirt and Sunkist soda. To learn more about our iconic brands and Plano, Texas-based company, please visit DrPepperSnapple.com. For our latest news and updates, follow us at

Facebook.com/DrPepperSnapple or Twitter.com/DrPepperSnapple.

 

About KaBOOM!

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 2,300 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.

 # # #

To download a copy of the press release, please click here: PlayBuild IPC 2013 DPS Grants Press Release