Foresters, KaBOOM! & Volunteers Encourage Quality Family Time by Building New Playground for West Oakland Children

Child-Designed Playground will Eventually Serve 4,500 Children and their Families

OAKLAND, CA, April 30 /CNW/ - Children in West Oakland received a brand new playground today thanks to the effort of more than 200 volunteers from ForestersTM, a life insurance provider committed to the well-being of families, Oakland Unified School District Police Services, the City of Oakland Redevelopment Agency and non-profit KaBOOM!. The new playground will serve 4,500 children and their families in the West Oakland community for years to come.  Planning for the playground began at a Design Day event held in March 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.

"Foresters shares its financial strength with its members and communities where they live, such as Oakland," said Kasia Czarski, Foresters Chief Membership and Marketing Officer. "Playgrounds are an ideal place for families to get to know other families and build strong communities.  This new playground at Wade Johnson Park will provide opportunities families to spend quality time together for years to come."

Foresters has invested over $3 million with KaBOOM! to build 36 playgrounds across North America since 2006. These playgrounds will eventually serve more than 575,000 children, providing them and their families with a place where they can play, learn and have fun together.

"This wonderful playground is a powerful example of what is possible when organizations collaborate to benefit children," said Chief Peter C. Sarna, Oakland School Police Department. "Thanks to the dedication of Foresters and KaBOOM!, West Oakland children will have a beautiful new playspace at our summer youth program and City Park."

The playground at Wade Johnson Park will provide 4,500 children and their families in the West Oakland community with a great place to play and engage in healthy family time. In less than eight hours, the child-designed playground was built from scratch by hundreds of volunteers from Foresters, Oakland Unified School District Police Services, the City of Oakland Redevelopment Agency and the surrounding community. In addition, children and families spent the day playing games and participating in arts and crafts activities.

"A child who is given the chance to run, jump, laugh and enjoy the company of other children and family is a happy child," said Council member Nadel, City of Oakland City Council District Three. "In a healthy environment, children not only expend negative energies but also receive positive reinforcement. The installation of this playground structure at Wade Johnson will provide the children in the area with an added healthy environment and contribute to their happiness and well-being."

Thanks to the work of Foresters, Oakland Unified School District Police Services, the City of Oakland Redevelopment Agency and KaBOOM!, children and their families now have a 2,400 square-foot playground to call home that includes features such as Inclined Cliff Hanger, Round Tube Slide and Zigzag Slide.

About Oakland Unified School District Police Services/Together We Can

The Together-We-Can program was founded in 2009 by the Oakland School Police to create a safe environment in West Oakland for children to learn and play. The program strives to create positive relationships between youth and police officers in addition to bridging the gap as a safe haven for many youths in the community.

About the City of Oakland Redevelopment Agency

Blight is defined as a combination of conditions that lead to economic and physical burdens so extreme that a community cannot reverse the situation on its own. The City of Oakland Redevelopment Agency works with the community to eliminate physical and economic blight and promote growth and positive change in each of its ten redevelopment areas. For more information about the City of Oakland Redevelopment Agency, please visit http://www2.oaklandnet.com/Government/o/CEDA/o/Redevelopment/index.htm.

About Foresters

Founded in 1874 as a fraternal benefit society, ForestersTM champions the well-being of families through quality life insurance, unique member benefits and inspiring community activities.  Foresters shares its financial strength with more than 835,000ˆ members in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Unity Life of Canada, a wholly owned subsidiary of Foresters, represents Foresters in Canada. For more information, please visit www.foresters.com.

ForestersTM is a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal benefit society, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9.

ˆIncludes total number of UK Child Trust accounts

Unity Life of Canada, a Foresters company, is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Independent Order of Foresters

About KaBOOM!

KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to saving play. Because all children deserve to be active and healthy, KaBOOM! works to ensure that every child in America has a great place to play within walking distance. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has used its innovative community-build model to bring together businesses and communities to construct more than 1,900 new places to play across North America. KaBOOM! also fights the Play Deficit with online tools that empower communities to join the movement to save play. The KaBOOM! website, kaboom.org, allows communities to self-organize and take action to support play on a both a local and national level.

SOURCE Foresters

For further information:

Troy Flint, Oakland Unified School District, 510-879-8200, troy.flint@ousd.k12.ca.us

Carletta Starks, City Council District Three, 510-409-5923, clstarks@oaklandnet.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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Foresters

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