Grand Prairie Family YMCA, Foresters Financial and KABOOM! Work to End Playspace Inequity with a New Playground in Grand Prairie
Ensuring optimal COVID-19 safety precautions, the playspace brings joy to hundreds of kids
(Dallas, Texas – November 18, 2020) – Kids at the Grand Prairie Family YMCA in Dallas are celebrating today because they have a great new place to play. For months, representatives from Grand Prairie Family YMCA, fraternal life insurer Foresters Financial™, and KABOOM!, the nonprofit organization focused on ending playspace inequity, have been working together to increase access to playspaces for local kids, with the creation of a new, kid-designed playground installed on November 18th, 2020. Kids now have an incredible place to play close to where they live and learn, an opportunity that is often hard to achieve.
Since 2006, Foresters Financial and KABOOM! have built more than 160 beautiful playspaces across North America. Thanks to the hard work of over 10,625 Foresters Financial members, sales partners and guests, Foresters is positively impacting the lives of more than 5.3 million children by providing them with access to play.
Foresters Financial’s Global Chief Membership Officer Nicole Gourley said, "Foresters Financial has always been focused on our purpose – to enrich family and community well-being. That commitment continues during COVID-19, and safety is our top priority. We are pleased to work with Grand Prairie Family YMCA and KABOOM! to introduce a playspace that promotes the well-being of everyone, allowing families to spend quality time together right in their own neighborhoods.”
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, KABOOM! has introduced comprehensive measures to ensure the safety of all those involved in the lifecycle of its playgrounds, and this was KABOOM!’s latest virtual build.
For the design, KABOOM! engaged the kids in the community over video calls for Design Day, asking them to draw their dream playspace, which acted as the basis for the new playground. Then, rather than working with volunteers from the local community, it was installed by a small professional installation team using masks and social distancing. The playground features customized safety signage and a handwashing station, and KABOOM! has issued a comprehensive guide to help the community, playground owners/operators and caregivers navigate the safe use of playspaces, developed based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and National Recreation and Parks Association.
During COVID-19, the Grand Prairie YMCA has served meals to families, and provided free immunization and essential back to school supplies to more than 700 youth, relying on the idea of “community” to serve. The Grand Prairie YMCA has been able to serve children throughout the community with summer camp, school activities, youth sports and now this community playspace, which gives space for kids to be kids during these uncertain times.
“Grand Prairie is a family community where people come together to support each other. The pandemic has tightened that bond,” said Debbi Johnston, Y Board Member, GP Resident and Community volunteer. “These are exciting times for our South Grand Prairie YMCA. Despite the COVID-pandemic slow down, the Grand Prairie YMCA was able to raise $11,394.00 to pay for our portion of the KABOOM! Playground Professional Build Project thanks to the generous support from the community. What’s even more exciting is that kids from the local community are helping to design the exact KABOOM! playground they will play on for years to come. I am so proud of our community and the YMCA leadership to help us move forward with this exciting project. It was a much-needed boost in our community.”
The community is invited to visit the Grand Prairie YMCA for an “Open Playground” event on November 18th just in time for fall sports program participants and the community to enjoy the great fall weather.
KABOOM! knows that playspaces are essential to resilience, health and childhood, and the communities that have been hit the hardest by COVID-19 – communities facing challenges already, and communities of color – are the same communities that often lack access to parks and playspaces due to historic disinvestment. The partners have teamed up to help end playspace inequity, creating a new place for kids to play that reflects the neighborhood’s unique needs and aspirations, and gives every kid the opportunity to experience the joys of childhood.
“We know disasters and crises often exacerbate the inequities that communities are already experiencing, and in many communities, kids won’t have a playground to go back to once the COVID-19 crisis is over,” says James Siegal, CEO of KABOOM!. “We must stop the playspace inequities from becoming even deeper after we get through this pandemic, giving every kid the chance to play and just enjoy being a kid.”
About the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas serves thousands of men, women and children each year, regardless of age, income or background. Anchored in 21 North Texas communities, the Dallas Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. The Y ensures all people have equitable access to the essentials needed to become thriving members of the community. Daily, the Y bridges and fills individual and community needs as a catalyst for impactful change. The YMCA makes accessible the support and opportunities that empower people and communities to learn, grow and thrive, with three areas of focus: Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. To learn more or get involved in improving our local communities, have opportunities to make an impact and support your neighbors, please visit www.ymcadallas.org.
About Foresters Financial
Since 1874, Foresters Financial has been providing socially responsible financial services to individuals and families. Foresters Financial includes The Independent Order of Foresters, the oldest non-denominational fraternal benefit society. Foresters is a purpose-driven organization that exists to enrich family and community well-being and offers insurance products to over three million members and clients in Canada, the US and the U.K. For 20 straight years, The Independent Order of Foresters has received an “A” (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best. For more information please visit foresters.com
™Foresters Financial, Foresters, and Helping Is Who We Are are trade names and/or trademarks of The Independent Order of Foresters (a fraternal benefit society, 789 Don Mills Rd, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9) and its subsidiaries.
KABOOM! is the national non-profit that works to achieve playspace equity. Kids who don’t have access to play miss out on childhood and are denied critical opportunities to build physical, social and emotional health. And all too often, it more deeply affects communities of color. So we amplify the power of communities to build inspiring playspaces that spark unlimited opportunities for every kid, everywhere. KABOOM! has teamed up with partners to build or improve 17,000+ playspaces, engage more than 1.5 million community members and bring joy to more than 11 million kids.
To learn about our goal to end playspace inequity for good, visit kaboom.org and join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom, facebook.com/kaboom and instagram.com/kaboom.
 The A.M. Best ratings assigned on August 5, 2020 reflect overall strength and claims-paying ability of The Independent Order of Foresters (IOF). An “A” (Excellent) rating is assigned to companies that have a strong ability to meet their ongoing obligations to policyholders and have, on balance, excellent balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile when compared to the standards established by A.M. Best Company. A.M. Best assigns ratings from A++ to F, A++ and A+ being superior ratings and A and A- being excellent ratings. In assigning the ratings for IOF, A.M. Best stated that the rating outlook is "stable", which means it is unlikely to change in the near future. See ambest.com for our latest ratings.