Longfellow Elementary School PTA, Foresters Financial and KABOOM! Work to End Playspace Inequity with a New Playground in Long Beach
Ensuring optimal COVID-19 safety precautions, the playspace brings joy to hundreds of kids
(Los Angeles, California – November 16, 2020) – Kids at Longfellow Elementary School in Long Beach are celebrating today because they have a great new place to play. For months, representatives from the Longfellow Elementary School PTA, 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 16th, 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 the Longfellow Elementary School PTA 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 in May as part of 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.
The playspace couldn’t come at a better time. Long Beach schools and playgrounds have been closed since March 2020 due to COVID-19, with only remote learning available to the community. Longfellow Elementary School, the Longfellow PTA and the community-at-large have been working proactively to maintain the mental and physical well-being of students, with events such as free breakfast and lunch distribution, monthly celebratory “Flag Ceremony” videos, and teacher and neighborhood parades. Along with these efforts, the good news that Longfellow will finally have a play structure has brightened the spirits of the entire community and provided something to anticipate – a place for all kids to play.
“We are thrilled to have the dream of a play structure for our campus come to fruition, just in time for Longfellow’s Centennial Celebration in 2021,” said Mary Yung, Longfellow Playground Project Committee Member. “The kids will now have another reason to celebrate the return to school when it’s safe to do so.”
The playground has been a long time coming. “A play structure has been on the radar since 2009,” said Lisa Lindsay, Longfellow Playground Project Co-Chair. “As parents, we wanted our kids to be able to play as hard as they worked in school. After a few efforts to get it started, we were absolutely thrilled to finally receive funding this year from Foresters Financial and KABOOM! that will give our fantastic school the playspace the kids deserve.”
“I’m excited for a playground because I used to just play on the ground and now I’ll be able to climb and play with my friends. I like climbing!” said Camden Lindsay, Longfellow 2nd grader who participated in the kids’ Design Day for the playspace.
KABOOM! knows that playspaces are essential to resilience, health and childhood, and the communities who have been hit the hardest by COVID-19 – communities facing challenges already, and communities of color – are the same communities who 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 Longfellow Elementary School PTA
Henry W. Longfellow Elementary PTA seeks to positively impact the lives of all children and families by representing our members and empowering and supporting them with skills in advocacy, leadership and communication. The Longfellow PTA works to develop between educators and the general public such united efforts as will secure for all children and youth the highest advantages in physical, mental, social and spiritual education. Longfellow Elementary School celebrates its centennial year in 2021.
To learn more about Longfellow PTA, visit LBLongfellowPTA.org or follow us on Instagram and Twitter at @LBLongfellowPTA.
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.