Kool-Aid and Let Them Be Kids bring smiles to kids across Canada with new community playgrounds



    
        Partnership will build up to 25 new playgrounds through Let Them Be
                         Kids Kool-Aid Smile awards
    

    TORONTO, June 2 /CNW/ - Summer is almost here, and local playgrounds
across Canada are already beginning to fill with the laughter of children at
play. Yet, in many Canadian communities, safe, easily accessible playgrounds
are a luxury. Kool-Aid, in partnership with Let Them Be Kids (LTBK) is making
a change! This year, up to 25 communities will be strengthened when they
receive $5,000 through the Let Them Be Kids Kool-Aid Smile award to help get
playground builds started.
    "Kool-Aid understands the value of community, family and fun, and we
wanted to find a way to give back and get involved with local communities
across Canada," says Kevin Smith, Associate Product Manager, Kool-Aid. "All
children should have safe, affordable access to play - and with Let Them Be
Kids, we're not just building playgrounds, we're building stronger communities
and bringing affordable fun to everyone."
    LTBK received nominations from communities across the country wanting to
make a difference. Up to 25 of these will receive a Let Them Be Kids Kool-Aid
Smile award to build playgrounds, skate and fitness parks for local children.
Beginning on Saturday, June 6, two communities will kick off the year's
Kool-Aid/LTBK playground builds. Following this, Kool-Aid and LTBK have set
the goal of an additional 13 Canadian communities then building their
playgrounds on LTBK Day across Canada Saturday, September 26. With one build
per province and territory, work will begin at dawn in the east and end at
dusk in the west. This Saturday, June 6, Leduc, AB, and East Vancouver, BC
will be the first to build their playgrounds. Hamilton, ON, Fort Erie, ON,
Lincoln, ON and Sangudo, AB will follow, with additional builds expected
throughout the summer.
    "Many Canadians recognize the need for safe, fun places for their
children to play," says Ian Hill, Volunteer CEO, Let Them Be Kids. "Creating
strong bonds within a community through a new playground not only benefits the
community as a whole, but also its children by helping to develop social
skills through fun and play."

    The importance of play

    Play is essential for the physical and mental health of a child. It
strengthens positive relationships between parents and kids and is a critical
part of family and community life. Not only does play teach children how to
ask questions, speak for themselves and develop a sense of well being, but it
also helps kids develop and express their emotions and improve their
interpersonal skills.
    Unfortunately, playtime is not always afforded the importance it
deserves. In fact, research indicates that children's playtime is shrinking,
down from 40 per cent in 1981 to 25 per cent in 1997(1). New research also
shows that many kindergarten classes spend two to three hours per day
instructing and testing children in literacy and math - but devote only 30
minutes per day or less to play(2).
    "There is nothing more rooted in childhood than a playground, which like
Kool-Aid, is about simple, childhood fun through creativity, imagination and
play," says Smith. "We want that fun and excitement to be experienced by all
Canadian kids and their families. Let the playground builds begin!"

    Help kids smile - get involved in the fun!

    For each Kool-Aid powdered drink mix sold between May 2009 and September
2009, a portion of the proceeds - up to $50,000 - will directly support the
LTBK builds. Playground builds also rely on strong community engagement and
volunteer support, so Canadians are encouraged to get involved by lending a
hand on build day.
    For more information about the playground builds or to register to
volunteer, visit www.ltbk.ca.
    For more information about Kool-Aid and the Kool-Aid Smile awards, visit
www.bekool.ca.

    About Kraft Foods

    Kraft Foods (http://www.kraftfoodscompany.com) makes today delicious in
150 countries around the globe. Our 100,000 Kraft Foodies work tirelessly to
make delicious foods consumers can feel good about. From American brand icons
like Kraft cheeses, dinners and dressings, Maxwell House coffees and Oscar
Mayer meats, to global powerhouse brands like Oreo and LU biscuits,
Philadelphia cream cheeses, Jacobs and Carte Noire coffees, Tang powdered
beverages and Milka, Cote d'Or, Lacta and Toblerone chocolates, our brands
deliver millions of smiles every day. Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE:   KFT) is the
world's second largest food company with annual revenues of $42 billion. The
company is a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor's
500, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and Ethibel Sustainability Index. In
Canada, company brands include Kraft Dinner macaroni and cheese, Christie
cookies and crackers, and Delissio pizza.

    About Let Them Be Kids (LTBK)

    LTBK is an all-volunteer based organization made up of business leaders,
recreation practitioners, experts from various fields and parents - all who
are dedicated to making tomorrow better for kids. Started by Ian and Gina Hill
over a decade ago, LTBK began in an attempt to help the homeless children of
their own local community. Ian and Gina shared the view that if adults focus
on building strong families, neighborhoods and communities, kids could just be
kids. The LTBK program launched in Canada in 2006 when LTBK identified a need
from community organizations across the country who needed assistance to
secure funds to build play structures for children who may not have safe,
secure places to play.

    
    -------------------------------------
    (1) Yale University, June 10-11, 2005
        http://udel.edu/~roberta/play/press.html
    (2) Alliance for Childhood, March 2009
       
http://www.allianceforchildhood.org/sites/allianceforchildhood.org/files/file/
kindergarten_report.pdf
    





For further information:

For further information: Angie Di Rezze/Alana Lipton, Edelman, (416)
979-1120 x 308/x222, angie.direzze@edelman.com/alana.lipton@edelman.com

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KOOL-AID

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LET THEM BE KIDS (LTBK)

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