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News and Notices

Auburn Named to Playful City USA List for fourth consecutive year; One of 213 cities Nationwide

AUBURN, Wash. – May 4, 2012 – Auburn has been named to the 2012 KaBOOM! Playful City USA list; a list comprised of 231 cities in 41 states being honored for their efforts offer play in their communities. Only five other Washington cities maintain the honor. Playful City USA communities make a commitment to play and physical activity by developing unique local action plans to increase the quantity and quality of play in their community.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is critical to healthy brain development. It allows children to use their creativity while simultaneously developing imagination, dexterity and physical, cognitive and emotional strength. Yet today’s children spend less time playing outside than any previous generation in part because only 1-in-5 live within walking distance of a park or playground. The resulting play deficit is having profound consequences for kids physically, socially and academically.

Presented by The Humana Foundation, Playful City USA is a national program advocating for local policies that increase play opportunities for children and is a key platform in combating the play deficit. KaBOOM!, the national non-profit organization dedicated to saving play, created Playful City USA in 2007 to help local governments address the play deficit and it is through mayors, city council members, parks and recreation departments, school districts and community leaders that the program succeeds in benefitting children.

KaBOOM! selected Auburn for its outstanding dedication to play. Auburn recently opened a new gymnasium and activity center through a joint use agreement with the King County Boys and Girls Club. This year, the city will replace an old playground in one neighborhood, build a new park in another and coordinate the second year of a free summer drop-in play program at Olympic Middle School.

“We plan to continue to work with the community to create opportunities and spaces for play to ensure that Auburn remains “More Fun Than You Imagined” notes Daryl Faber, Auburn Parks, Arts & Recreation Director.

As part of the Playful City USA program, the City of Auburn was award a $20,000 2011 Let’s Play grant via the program and in partnership with the Dr Pepper Snapple Group. The grant will help fund playground renovations at Game Farm Park using a community playground build process. The City of Auburn has also submitted a 2012 Let’s Play grant for $20,000 to help fund a playground at the new Lea Hill Park. Awards for 2012 will be announced in early June.

Details about playing in Auburn can be found online at www.auburnwa.gov, through the Parks, Arts & Recreation Guide which is available at the Parks, Arts & Recreation Administration building, Auburn Regional Library, and Auburn City Hall, or by calling 253-931-3043.

About KaBOOM!

KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to saving play. 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. To fight this play deficit, 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.

Since then, KaBOOM! has mapped over 89,000 places to play, built more than 2,000 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!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play. 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 offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.