NEW ORLEANS, LA—Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that the City of New Orleans has been recognized by KaBOOM!, the national non-profit organization dedicated to saving play, as a “Playful City USA” honoree for making a commitment to play and physical activity by developing unique local action plans to increase the quantity and quality of play in the community. This is the second year that New Orleans has earned this recognition.
“We are extremely proud to once again be recognized as a playful city,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “We have placed high value in providing recreational opportunities for our children and will continue to move in a direction that gives them the choice to be active and safe.”
Today’s generation of children play less than any previous generation despite the vast benefits of play. The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that play is essential to the social, emotional, cognitive and physical well-being of children.
Sponsored by the Humana Foundation, Playful City USA is a national program from KaBOOM! that celebrates and promotes local policies that increase play opportunities for children and is a key platform in combating the lack of play among children.
KaBOOM! selected New Orleans for its outstanding dedication to play. This follows a series of recognitions and awards that the City of New Orleans has received, including a Partnership for a Healthier America and Blue Cross Blue Shield Play Streets grant to increase play in underserved neighborhoods, and more than $2 million in improvements from the NFL Play 60 initiative to improve five parks and playgrounds in New Orleans.
“We are thankful to KaBOOM! for recognizing the work we have done as a City and through Fit NOLA to expand access to fun and safe places to play,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Karen DeSalvo. “We know that play results in significant benefits for a child’s physical, social, and intellectual development, and with great partners such as KaBOOM!, New Orleans is making strides to becoming a fitter city. We are thankful for this recognition and are committed to ensuring that all New Orleanians can reap the benefits of being active and playing.”
“We are excited about New Orleans’ designation as a Playful City,” said Vic Richard, Director of New Orleans Recreation Development Commission. “We have focused on providing better recreational choices for our city and by doing so; giving our children the best chance to grow physically, socially and mentally.”
“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 New Orleans 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.”
The 217 Playful City USA communities are now eligible for $15,000, $20,000 and $30,000 grants via Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide. Grant recipients will be announced in the fall.
For more information on the KaBOOM! Playful City USA program, including Let’s Play grants and applications for 2014, visit www.playfulcityusa.org.
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.
About the Humana Foundation
The Humana Foundation was established in 1981 as the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc., one of the nation’s leading health care companies. Located in Louisville, Ky., the site of Humana’s corporate headquarters, the Foundation’s mission is to promote healthy lives and healthy communities. The Foundation’s key funding priorities are childhood health, intergenerational health, and active lifestyles. For more information, visit www.humanafoundation.org.
Humana and the Humana Foundation are dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility. Our goal is to ensure that every business decision we make reflects our commitment to improving the health and well-being of our members, our associates, the communities we serve, and our planet.