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New Playground Unveiled to Bring Hope and Healing for Kids and Families in Uvalde

The playground project marks the beginning of a deep-rooted commitment to the Uvalde community as they look ahead to recover after the tragedy.

KABOOM! CEO Lysa Ratliff and Archewell Executive Director James Holt with volunteers at DeLeon Park Build Day | Source: KABOOM!

UVALDE, Texas — (PRNewswire) — The City of Uvalde, Archewell Foundation, and KABOOM! recently partnered to support community unity and healing by creating a playspace for kids and the community to enjoy. The goal of the DeLeon Park playground project is to provide a sense of hope for the Uvalde community that has come together to recover after the tragedy at Robb Elementary School that impacted the lives of the entire community on May 24. The community has been leading the planning of the project to foster a sense of togetherness and healing through the creation of a vibrant space that honors the innocent lives lost and provides a place to play for kids in need of normalcy, restored childhoods, and joy.

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Located four blocks from Robb Elementary, DeLeon Park reaches hundreds of families, including some of those most impacted by the tragedy. The creation of the new playground was a community-led process, including kids, who shared creative ideas for their dream playground during Design Workshops at El Progreso Memorial Library, the West End Park, and Civic Center in August. The most common requests were slides, swings, merry-go-rounds, and tetherballs.

“It warms my heart to see everyone unify to bring hope and positive change for our community and children by helping to build this special playground,” said community member Mayra Vasquez. “I’m excited to see many families come together to work out, have family gatherings, and allow our kids to release energy and have fun at the end of the day.”

Playgrounds are one of the few shared community spaces designed specifically for kids and are an essential tool for their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The entire Uvalde community wants to do something to help support their children who are experiencing trauma at different levels in the aftermath, and need outlets to gather, play, and enjoy childhood.

“Uvalde has a long road ahead to recover, but this is a resilient and close-knit community,” said Mayor Don McLaughlin. “Coming together to build the new playground at DeLeon Park has given community members a way to unite around something positive as they try to heal. We are grateful for the rallying of support from KABOOM!, Archewell, and others who are committed to the long-term health and well-being of the kids and families in Uvalde.”

Several city agencies, including the City Manager’s Office, Parks and Recreation, and a planning committee made up of community champions have been integral to the creation of the DeLeon Park playground. Additionally, several partners, including the Uvalde Together Resiliency Center, Ecumenical Center, Bluebonnet Children’s Advocacy Center, El Progreso Memorial Library, Musco Lighting, Playworld, Playground Solutions of Texas, and The Mission Continues are providing various resources for creating spaces for kids and the community to gather, play, and learn. This project and its groundswell of support show what is possible when partners and communities come together to address the needs of kids, especially in times of tragedy.

The DeLeon playground project marks the beginning of a deep-rooted commitment to the Uvalde community as they aim to recover after the tragedy, working to build more playspaces to ensure every kid has a joyful place to play. After considerable work with City and community leaders, and hearing about their desire to do even more for kids across Uvalde, KABOOM! has identified the need for an additional 12 new playspaces and is issuing an urgent call for support to raise the necessary funding to complete all of the projects. KABOOM! is committed to working with diverse partners in bold new ways and breaking down barriers to create the transformational change needed for the kids in Uvalde.

“It has been an honor to support the children and families in Uvalde design and build this amazing space where the community can come together,” said James Holt, Executive Director of Archewell Foundation. “Our hope is that this special project can help the community heal, and be home to imagination, games and play for many years to come.”

In January, KABOOM! announced its 25 in 5 Initiative to End Playspace Inequity with the bold goal of achieving playspace equity in 25 places nationwide in five years. With the building of the identified playgrounds needed locally, every kid will have equitable access to places to play, ending playspace inequity in the Uvalde community.

“The Uvalde community has experienced an unthinkable tragedy,” said Lysa Ratliff, CEO of KABOOM!. “Throughout our history, we have experienced the healing power of coming together, and of play. Our hope is that our work can play a small role in helping the community build toward its future. KABOOM! is also committed to building beyond DeLeon Park and is actively raising the resources to address the broader playspace needs in Uvalde. We are ready to work in partnership and in bold new ways to ensure that all kids and families in Uvalde have a great place to play. That work starts today, and continues until playspace equity is achieved.” 

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