; Designed By Kids, Built By Volunteers: Blue Cross And Blue Shield Association, Blue Island Park District, Friends of Blue Island Parks and KaBOOM! Team Up To Build New Playground For Children
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Press Release

Designed By Kids, Built By Volunteers: Blue Cross And Blue Shield Association, Blue Island Park District, Friends of Blue Island Parks and KaBOOM! Team Up To Build New Playground For Children

October 2, 2011

BLUE ISLAND, Ill. – Today the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), Blue Island Park District and Friends of Blue Island Parks collaborate to build a new state-of-the-art playground in one day, under the direction of KaBOOM! organizers.  Construction on the 3,000 square foot playground at Portland Park (intersection of Broadway and Chatham, Blue Island, Ill., 60406) begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 2:30 p.m.

The new playground at Portland Park will provide more than 600 children who come to the park with a safe place to play.  Children from the area helped design their new playground through drawings they created at a Design Day event in August.

More than 200 volunteers from BCBSA, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies nationwide, Blue Island Park District, Friends of Blue Island Parks and residents of the Blue Island and surrounding communities are joining together to build the playground.

This is the sixth year BCBSA has collaborated with KaBOOM!.  Previously the organizations partnered to build playgrounds in New Orleans (2006), Chicago (2007), San Diego (2008), Houston (2009) and Broadview, Ill. (2010). The playspace at Portland Park represents one of the more than 150 new playgrounds that KaBOOM! will build this year.

“Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies nationwide are committed to investing in their local communities,” said Scott P. Serota, BCBSA president and CEO. “Building this new playground to encourage fun and exercise complements other wellness initiatives by the Blues. We are proud to collaborate with Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, Blue Island Park District, Friends of Blue Island Parks and KaBOOM! on this project. We’d also like to thank the volunteers for their hard work to make this new playground a reality for the community.”

“The Blue Island Park District is honored and thrilled to participate alongside the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and KaBOOM! for this playground build,” said the late Park Board President John Spizzirri. “At the moment, renovating Blue Island’s 12 parks is one of our main priorities. We believe that a community with great parks for safe recreational play will give birth to much healthier and active children. Having been selected for this playground project will certainly help the Blue Island Park District achieve its goal. We invite everyone to visit the beautiful city of Blue Island and to enjoy our recreational facilities.

KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to saving play, provided their professional guidance to the Portland Park playground build.  Since 1996, KaBOOM! has shared its community-based model to bring business and community interests together to construct more than 2,000 new playspaces across North America

“Only 1-in-5 children across the country lives within walking distance of a park or playground and that is creating a monumental play deficit among children,” said Darell Hammond, Founder and CEO, KaBOOM!. “We helped address that play deficit in Blue Island thanks to BCBSA, the Blue Island Park District and Friends of Blue Island Parks as KaBOOM! moved closer toward achieving our vision of a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.”

Blue Island Park District
Celebrating over 100 years of excellent service to the city of Blue Island, the Blue Island Park District and its staff pride themselves on providing quality recreational activities for the residents of Blue Island. The Blue Island Park District’s long term goal will be to provide quality playgrounds and parks where every child no matter their background can find a place to explore and participate in recreational play.

Friends of Blue Island Parks
To speak of an event or program at the Blue Island Park District and not assume the great members of the Friends of the Park are in some way involved would be unheard of. Made up of mainly parents and friends, Friends of Blue Island Parks is a hard working group volunteers that the staff of the Blue Island Park District have learned to love.

KaBOOM!
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! is a national non-profit organization dedicated to saving play. Through community building, the organization is focused on giving every child in America a great place to play within walking distance. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has used its innovative community-build model to bring together business and community interests to construct more than 1,800 new playgrounds, skate parks, sports fields and ice rinks across North America. KaBOOM! also offers a variety of resources, including an online community, free online trainings, grants, publications and the KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play, which includes Playful City USA and Playmakers – a national network of individual advocates for play. KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 100 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.