Let's Play: Volunteers bring kids' imaginations to life with new playground

Toronto Community Housing, Canada Dry Mott's and KaBOOM! Team up to build new playground for Etobicoke children and families - in just one day

ETOBICOKE, ON, Sept. 28, 2011 /CNW/ - In a joint effort to help give children and families in Toronto Community Housing's West Mall community a safe place to play, more than 200 volunteers from Canada Dry Mott's and Toronto Community Housing, along with community members and organizers from KaBOOM!, built a new community playground in just six hours. Inspired by the imagination of children who attended a Design Day in July, the new playground will give children and families in the Etobicoke townhouse community the opportunity to play and connect with their friends and neighbours.

"Toronto Community Housing's vision is to contribute to a city where residents are proud of the place where they live and where people feel connected to each other and their community," said Len Koroneos, Toronto Community Housing's Chief Executive Officer (interim). "Thanks to our partnership with Canada Dry Mott's and KaBOOM!, children have a safe and accessible place to play. That is a key building block of a safe and healthy community."

This project is part of Let's Play, a community partnership led by Canada Dry Mott's and its parent company Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active. The first North American Let's Play initiative is a $15-million, three-year commitment by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to KaBOOM! to build or fix up 2,000 playgrounds by the end of 2013, benefiting an estimated five million children across North America. Dr Pepper Snapple Group is also a member of the leadership circle within the KaBOOM! National Partner Program.

"We believe that the key to a healthy lifestyle is to stay active and achieve balance, and our goal is to provide the tools, places and inspiration to kids and families to help them make physical activity a daily priority," said Andrew Bayfield, Senior Vice President, Canada Dry Mott's and Mott's Snapple International. "We're proud to be a part of this Let's Play initiative here in Etobicoke, where we can help encourage kids and families to stay active - and have fun doing it - with this great new, safe playground."

Today's kids spend less time playing outside than any previous generation, in part because only one in five children live within walking distance of a park or playground. This play deficit is having profound consequences for kids physically as well as mentally and socially. Children desperately need a place to play every day in order to be active and healthy. KaBOOM! is a national non-profit organization dedicated to saving play. For 15 years, KaBOOM! has been fighting the play deficit by ensuring there is a great place to play within walking distance of every child.

Volunteers worked tirelessly from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. today to bring the kids' design to life, including moving 4,500 square metres of safety surfacing by hand and assembling brightly coloured playground equipment. Their efforts were rewarded with an official ribbon cutting ceremony that followed once the playground was in place, led by Andrew Bayfield and Len Koroneos.  As a result of the work by Toronto Community Housing, Canada Dry Mott's, Etobicoke's West Mall community and KaBOOM!, local children and their families now get to play in a 2,500 square-foot new playground that includes features such as a Spiral Slide, a Rock Climbing wall, an Adventure Bridge, a Vine Climber and options to create an obstacle course by pressing buttons and connecting pieces of equipment.

About Toronto Community Housing

Toronto Community Housing (www.torontohousing.ca) is Canada's largest social housing provider and home to more than 164,000 tenants with low and moderate incomes—about six per cent of the City of Toronto's population. Toronto Community Housing employs 1,400 staff in a broad range of jobs, who deliver its mandate to provide affordable housing, connect tenants to services and opportunities, and work together to build healthy communities.

About Canada Dry Mott's Inc.

Canada Dry Mott's, is a leading beverage business marketing a wide range of soft drinks, juices, teas, mixers and other premium beverages throughout Canada. The company's portfolio includes Canada Dry, Mott's Clamato, Dr Pepper, Crush, Mott's Fruitsations, Schweppes, Orangina, Mott's Garden Cocktail and Mr. & Mrs. T mixers among other brands. Based in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada Dry Mott's is a subsidiary of Dr Pepper Snapple (NYSE: DPS), one of the leading refreshment beverage businesses in North America. For more information, please visit www.canadadrymotts.ca.

About Let's Play

Let's Play is a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS) to get kids and families active nationwide. The first Let's Play initiative is a $15 million, three-year commitment to KaBOOM!, the national non-profit that's saving play. Together, through Let's Play, DPS and KaBOOM! will build or fix up 2,000 playgrounds by the end of 2013, benefiting an estimated five million children across North America. For more information, visit Let's Play on Facebook at www.facebook.com/letsplay or online at www.LetsPlay.com.

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! 15 years ago 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 85,000 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.

Image with caption: "Andrew Bayfield, Senior Vice President of Canada Dry Mott's and Len Koroneos, Toronto Community Housing's CEO (interim), stand in front of a brand new, safe playground built by more than 200 volunteers in just six hours today in Etobicoke's West Mall community. The playground, built in partnership with non-profit organization KaBOOM!, is part of part of Let's Play, a community partnership led by Canada Dry Mott's and its parent company Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active. (CNW Group/Canada Dry Mott's Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20110928_C7140_PHOTO_EN_4010.jpg

SOURCE Canada Dry Mott's Inc.

For further information:

Sinead Canavan, Toronto Community Housing, 416-891-8665, sinead.canavan@torontohousing.ca

Alison Bing, Canada Dry Mott's, 905-755-3640, alison.bing@dpsg.com

Mike Vietti, KaBOOM!, 785-320-2137, mvietti@kaboom.org

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Canada Dry Mott's Inc.

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