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"Play Everywhere Challenge" awards hundreds of thousands of dollars to create new play spaces in WNY

Posted at 12:05 AM, Jul 10, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBW) — KaBOOM!, the national non-profit dedicated to giving kids safe spaces to play, along with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation have announced the winners of the second "Play Everywhere Challenge."

This awards a total of $1 million for 22 projects across Western New York and Southeast Michigan to create play spaces that provide kids equal opportunities to play. Ralph Wilson, Jr. grew up in Detroit, Michigan and also had a close connection to Western New York. His foundation focuses on bringing generosity and innovation to these communities.

The challenge asked communities to submit design ideas that would make it easier for families to incorporate play into their lives. Selected projects will bring play to public spaces in unconventional ways, such as implementing swings at bus stops or play zones at laundromats.

Examples of projects coming to Western New York include a "Play Me a Tune" Music Garden in Batavia featuring fascinating instruments in a pedestrian alleyway. There will also be an interactive learning space in Buffalo called "Heat Islands" that will have rock-like structures that change temperature with the season.

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation's "Built to Play" initiative works to address the issue of kids who lack opportunities for safe places to play, especially in rural and low-income neighborhoods.

"Play is an essential part of childhood, but kids are too often denied the benefits of play. Play is an equity issue, and the opportunity to play should not be determined by zip code, socio-economic status or race," said James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!. "The Play Everywhere Challenge helps address this critical need, and we thank the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation for their commitment to ensuring every kid can experience the joy of a play-filled childhood."

KaBOOM! and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation have also recently teamed up to design a new playground for MLK Jr. Park in Buffalo and Mayors Park in North Tonawanda by asking kids to design their dream playground.

You can learn more about the "Play Everywhere Challenge" and all the winning projects coming to Western New York here.