Foresters, KaBOOM! & Volunteers Revitalize Cleveland Community with New Playground

Playground to enhance family well-being

CLEVELAND, OH, June 16, 2012 /CNW/ - A dream is now a reality for children in Cleveland as their drawings were turned into a new playground today. In less than eight hours, the play space was built with the help of more than 200 volunteers from ForestersTM, Imagine Cleveland Academy and non-profit KaBOOM!. The new playground will serve 6,000 children and their families in the community for years to come.

"Foresters believes in providing opportunities for families to spend quality time together," said Kasia Czarski, Foresters Senior Vice President, Chief Membership and Marketing Officer. "A playground is an important piece for the revitalization of a community. Not only does it provide a first step towards keeping children healthy, but it's a safe, central location for the entire neighborhood to get together."

Planning for the playground began at a Design Day event held in April when local children and community leaders met with organizers from KaBOOM! and Foresters to design their dream playground. The children's drawings were then used to create the final playground design.

Since 2006, Foresters has invested over $7 million with KaBOOM! with almost 100 playgrounds built or planned across the U.S. and Canada. Over their 15 year lifespan, these playgrounds will provide more than 2.6 million children and their families with an opportunity to spend quality time together. Foresters is a KaBOOM! National Partner and a founding member of the KaBOOM! Leadership Circle - a group of organizations providing long-term guidance and support to KaBOOM! and its mission.

"Imagine Cleveland Academy is so honored to be the host of this Foresters sponsored playground build with KaBOOM!," said Pharon West, Imagine Cleveland Academy School Leader. "We have worked extremely hard to bring members of the community onto our site to help build the playground for the very deserving children in our school and the immediate neighborhood. The playground will be a symbol of camaraderie between our school and the community for many years to come." 

Thanks to the work of Foresters, Imagine Cleveland Academy and KaBOOM!, children and their families now have a 2,500 square-foot playground to call home that includes features such as a Triple Racer Slide, Rockblocks Climbing Wall and a Horizontal Loop Ladder.

About Imagine Cleveland Academy
Under the leadership of Founding Principal Pharon West and the Board of Trustees, Imagine Cleveland Academy currently educates approximately 200 children in grades K-4. The school opened its doors in 2011 with 176 students, exceeding expected enrollment goals. Imagine Cleveland's mission is to do whatever it takes to promote an environment of integrity, justice, fun and love that results in endless possibilities for students and families. Imagine Cleveland's technology basis will allow students to soar into the 21st century. In the 2012-2013 school year, Imagine Cleveland will become a one-to-one technology school with iPads for every student in every classroom and a multitude of technological supplements throughout the school. Imagine Cleveland uses a project based approach that boasts hands on learning for all students as well.

About Foresters
Foresters™ is a life insurance provider with a difference.  The fraternal benefit society, founded in 1874, supports family well-being through quality products, unique member benefits and inspiring community activities. Foresters shares its financial strength with almost 950,000 members in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.  For more information, visit foresters.com.

Foresters™ is the trade name and a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal benefit society, 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9; its subsidiaries are licensed to use this mark.

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.

SOURCE Foresters

For further information:

Pharon West or Nathan Cline, Imagine Cleveland Academy, 216-641-1500, pharon.west@imagineschools.com or nathan.cline@imagineschools.com
Ryan Jones, Foresters, 1-800-461-8431 x4096, rjones@foresters.com
Mike Vietti, KaBOOM!, 785-320-2137, mvietti@kaboom.org

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