“The playground that I played on as a kid my parents built. They helped kind of like this, the community got together and built our little playground.” – Caps Defenseman Mike Green
So Kids Can founders Mike Green and Elliot Segal from the Elliot in the Morning show and So Kids Can supporters Nicklas Backstrom and Brooks Laich joined more than 200 volunteers from the Washington Capitals and the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority, organizers from KaBOOM! and residents of the local community on Thursday, September 13 to build a new playground at the S.T.A.R.S. Playground at Hopkins-Tancil Court in Old Town Alexandria. The new playground’s design is based on drawings created by children who participated in a Design Day event in August.
The new playground will provide hundreds of children in the Alexandria community with a safe place to play. The previous equipment at S.T.A.R.S. Playground was outdated and in need of replacement.
Elliot Segal was at the playgound in August when it was, “nothing” to meet with the kids at the design day event. Segal continued, “In a matter of hours, an entire playground is up. It is unreal. It is awesome.”
Transformation within one day was truly remarkable and seeing the expressions on the kids’ faces when they saw their dream playground as they got off the school bus was priceless.
The three Capitals players were all ready to get down to work when they arrived at the playground. All three grew up playing outside, instead of staying inside and know that is important for kids today. Nicklas Backstrom explained, “I wasn’t on the computer a lot, I was just outside playing with my friends. I think that is good.”
Today’s kids spend less time playing outside than any previous generation in part because only one-in-five children live within walking distance of a park or playground. This play deficit is having profound consequences for kids physically, socially and cognitively. Children need a place to play every day in order to be active and healthy, something KaBOOM! has been committed to since 1996.
Several officials from the Alexandria city government participated in the ribbon cutting in front of the new playground. Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille kicked off the ceremony and introduced Alexandria Police Chief Earl L. Cook, several members of the Alexandria council and passed the microphone to Ray Priest, Executive Director/CEO of the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority in Alexandria, VA.
The playground is the second built by KaBOOM!, the Washington Capitals and So Kids Can, and is one of more than 150 playground builds KaBOOM! will lead across the country in 2012 in an effort to fulfill its vision of a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.
Funds for the playground were raised through So Kids Can during the Caps 2011-12 season. Capitals defenseman Mike Green and Elliot Segal created the So Kids Can program in 2008 to benefit youth-focused, nonprofit organizations. Last season Caps forwards Backstrom and Laich also joined the cause. So Kids Can has raised more than $200,000 for various youth-oriented organizations since its inception.
PHOTOS OF PLAYGROUND BUILD IN ONE DAY: