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*****Media Advisory*****
Press Release
Let’s Go Play! Non-Profit Organization KaBOOM! Names Brentwood
9/15/10

- Communities Across the Country Prioritizing Play Despite Budget Setbacks -

WASHINGTON, D.C. – To ensure children in their communities are active and healthy, 118 cities and towns across the country earned recognition as 2010 Playful City USA communities despite difficult budgetary decisions and Park and Recreation department funding at its lowest levels in decades.

According to a report from the National League of Cities, 7 in 10 city officials are responding to the economic crisis by making personnel cuts, while a pre-summer National Recreation and Parks Association survey found that 55% of its members suffered budget cuts in 2010 and 60% expect more in 2011. These funding cutbacks persist despite findings from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey that only 20% of homes across the country have parks within a half mile.

Counteracting these issues, First Lady Michelle Obama announced the launch of the Let’s Move campaign in 2010, which is geared toward solving the childhood obesity issue within a generation through a variety of ways, including unstructured play.

This massive undertaking coincides with objectives of Playful City USA – a national recognition program honoring cities and towns determined to prioritize play and ensure that children are healthy by providing the time and space for play. KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to saving play, recognized 118 cities across the country as Playful City USA communities, including Brentwood. 

Hailing from 36 states and ranging in size from San Francisco and Atlanta, to Ottawa, Kan. and Shirley, Mass., these Playful City USA communities are making a commitment to play and physical activity by developing unique local action plans to increase the quantity and quality of play in their community. In doing so, some of the most innovative ideas and cost-effective programs are being developed in Playful City USA communities – proving that parks and play are more important than ever.

Each of the 2010 Playful City USA communities demonstrated creative commitments to the cause of play. Playful City USA celebrates and highlights these unique initiatives developed by communities across the country. A primary goal of Playful City USA is to encourage cities and towns to share creative ideas, concepts and programs in an effort to increase play opportunities for children. Brentwood offers the community a unique opportunity with its Wellness Policy, a community-wide aspirational goal which promotes physical activity and education as the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.

Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor commented, “Through the Playful City USA program, other communities across the country will now look to Brentwood as a role model. These cities and towns will examine our best practices and look to replicate them in their communities. I take a tremendous amount of pride in knowing that what we’re doing here in Brentwood will improve the lives of not only our children, but children elsewhere as well. I invite the community to play with us on September 6th at the City’s third annual Play Day. At 1p.m., we will gather to play games, complete a scavenger hunt and park improvement project at Veterans Park—this is a fun free event for the entire family”.

KaBOOM! makes children happier and healthier by inspiring communities to build great places to play in conjunction with its vision of a great place to play within walking distance of every child. Playful City USA communities create best practices, like the ones above, to reach a similar goal. They serve as role models for other communities and prove that enhancing children’s well-being by increasing the opportunity for play is an attainable goal for every community.

“An extreme misconception exists in our country that play among children is a luxury when, in fact, it’s an absolute necessity,” said Darell Hammond, KaBOOM! CEO and Co-founder. “For decades, this notion dominated our actions and we continue to see the damaging results: a monumental lack of playspaces for children and sky-rocketing childhood obesity rates. Brentwood refused to adhere to the status quo and realized all children deserve a municipal commitment to the cause of play. These 118 Playful City USA communities serve as beacons for the rest of our nation that an investment in children is an investment in our future.”

For more information on the KaBOOM! Playful City USA program, including applications for 2011, visit www.kaboom.org/playfulcityusa.

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