BOSTON, May 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Boston Parks and Recreation Department, CVS Caremark, and Boundless Playgrounds announce today the grand opening of a new playground at Harambee Park in Dorchester, Mass. that provides access for children of all abilities to play together. Construction of the playground is funded in part by a $250,000 grant from the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, along with $490,000 provided by Mayor Thomas M. Menino's Capital Improvement Program. The new playground will be unveiled today by Mayor Menino at a grand opening ceremony.
"This project allows children of all abilities the opportunity to enjoy one of our greatest resources, our neighborhood parks," noted Mayor Menino. "Thanks to the partnership among the City of Boston, CVS Caremark, and Boundless Playgrounds all kids can enjoy this unique play area at Harambee Park. It allows all kids to take part in the fun and will offer many of them new perspectives and activities that may not have been attainable until today."
"We are thrilled to be a part of this project to bring the first Boundless Playground to Boston," said Eileen Howard Dunn, Senior Vice President of Community Relations for CVS Caremark. "CVS Caremark All Kids Can is committed to helping children with disabilities succeed in life, and we are proud to be able to make an impact on children within the Boston community."
This marks the city's first Boundless Playground and the sixth in Massachusetts with six more underway. According to the Boston Public Schools database, 20 percent of enrolled children receive specialized education for some type of disability. Also, according to US Census Data, there are approximately 1,097 children ages 4-14 in Boston with a physical disability that might keep them from playing in a traditionally designed playground.
The new playground replaces a former play structure, originally dedicated in 1992 that was not universally accessible and in need of an update.
The Harambee Boundless Playground has been designed to maximize play for everyone regardless of their abilities and includes ample space to allow kids of varying degrees of ability to play side-by-side. Located at the center of the playground is an elevated gazebo, enabling children with disabilities to be up high, while also giving caregivers a view of children to encourage independent, self-directed play. The playground promotes inclusion with the addition of play panels for everyone to gather. Swings with high backs and unitary surfacing underneath make this popular playground activity easily accessible.
CVS Caremark All Kids Can, a program of the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust and CVS Caremark, is dedicated to making life easier for children with disabilities. Since 2006, CVS Caremark All Kids Can has donated more than $2 million to the building of Boundless playgrounds across the country. CVS Caremark's signature playground projects include three $250,000 grants to open three playgrounds including today's opening at Harambee Park, as well as Los Angeles and Dallas locations.
With a grant funded by the University of Massachusetts Boston, the Institute for Community Inclusion helped to coordinate the build through its "Meet Me at the Park, LET'S PLAY" project that promotes participation of all individuals in their communities.
"Creating fully inclusive community playgrounds reflects Boston's ongoing commitment to create opportunities for all its residents. Playgrounds like Harambee minimize differences among children while creating a realization among adults that disabilities do not have to limit opportunities for all children to play and learn together," said William Kiernan, Director of the Institute for Community Inclusion.
"The positive impact of the new Harambee Boundless Playground will last far beyond today's celebration," said Frederick Leone, chief executive officer of Boundless Playgrounds. "For years to come, children and adults with and without disabilities will gather here to play together and learn that everyone has their own unique talents and abilities."
CVS Caremark All Kids Can
All Kids Can, a program of the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust and CVS Caremark, is a five-year, $25 million commitment to support children with disabilities. The goals of All Kids Can are to support children with disabilities by raising awareness in schools and in local communities about the importance of inclusion, creating greater opportunities for physical activity and play, and providing access to medical rehabilitation and related services. CVS Caremark and its more than 215,000 employees plan to help children with disabilities learn, play and succeed through partnerships with leading local and national nonprofit organizations such as Easter Seals and many others across the country. For more information, visit http://www.cvsallkidscan.com.
Boundless Playgrounds is the leading national nonprofit developer of truly inclusive playgrounds where children, with and without disabilities, gain the important developmental and physical benefits of unstructured play. There are more than 150 Boundless Playgrounds in 28 states and Canada with dozens more under development. For more information about Boundless Playgrounds, visit www.boundlessplaygrounds.org.
About the Boston Parks and Recreation Department
As caretaker of the city's open space, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department oversees over 2,200 acres of parkland, including 246 parks and playgrounds, 65 squares, urban woodlands and street trees, three active cemeteries, 16 historic burying grounds, and two golf courses. In addition to maintaining the historic integrity of famous landmarks, the Department provides programming and services and upgrades facilities ranging from neighborhood tot lots to the 527-acre Franklin Park. For more information on the Department, please visit www.cityofboston.gov/parks or call (617) 635-4505.
University of Massachusetts Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex urban issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston's only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston's seven colleges and graduate schools serve more than 14,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit www.umb.edu.
The Institute for Community Inclusion
The Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities in their communities through training, consultation, clinical and employment services, and research. ICI is a University Center of Excellence for Developmental Disabilities based at the University of Massachusetts and Children's Hospital, both in Boston.