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#22 Playground Build! 5

Changing a Life in Six Hours

Since 2010, “Do Good. Live Well.” has built 22 playgrounds in 20 cities and 13 states with the non-profit KaBOOM!. We’re proud to say these play spaces are providing healthier, more active lifestyles for nearly 700,000 kids nationwide. I’ve had the honor to witness many worthy children jump up and down, yell with excitement or whisper to their best friend, “Someone cares enough about us to build us a playground.” My favorite part about building a playground is taking a moment to realize how those 360 minutes of effort changes thousands of lives.

On Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, more than 200 El Cajon, Calif. residents, KaBOOM!, and UnitedHealthcare employees built our latest play space, at Crisis House Community Resource Center. The 1,200-square-foot playground with its soothing and engaging underwater theme will encourage nearly 67,500 kids to lead more active, healthier lives for the next 15 years.

For over 45 years, the Crisis House Community Resource Center has offered services to individuals, including veterans, facing crises like homelessness, domestic violence and mental health or substance abuse. Crisis House also provides off-site seasonal emergency shelter beds and transitional housing to anyone experiencing a crisis. The new play space will provide many more ways for Crisis House to serve kids and families in a safe and welcoming environment.

We all know physical activity and play are vital in the development of healthy habits, and now when families come to Crisis House for support with issues like domestic violence and poverty, they will have access to a creative, safe and engaging environment while on the road to recovery.

I can’t say enough good things about KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit organization that helps bring balanced and active play into the daily lives of children. With its partners, KaBOOM! has built, improved and opened more than 16,700 playgrounds since 1996, serving more than 8.5 million kids.

I’m looking forward to our next playground build because I know that it will make a difference in helping raise healthier children, both inside and out. The next time you see a playground on your way to work or walking through your neighborhood, I encourage you to think about how important that space is for our youth in developing healthy habits and continue to ask yourself how you can help better your community. With more than one-third of adults considered obese, it’s more important than ever to promote and support these vital play areas that help our leaders of the future become the best they can be.

Jaime McKenzie is a social responsibility program manager at UnitedHealthcare.

Click here to see pictures from this project.

About Crisis House
Crisis House was founded in 1970 and is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) that has served the people of El Cajon and surrounding communities for 46 years. Our Vision is a community where everyone is safe, healthy and self-sufficient. It is our mission to respond immediately and to connect families and individuals with the vital resources necessary to renew their lives. To achieve our mission Crisis House offers comprehensive housing and social services for the region’s homeless and low income populations and is a leader in the provision of crucial services for women and their children who have survived domestic violence.

About KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,300 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers and served 8.1 million kids. KaBOOM! creates great places to play, inspires communities to promote and support play, and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives. To learn why #playmatters and why cities are embracing #playability: visit or join the conversation at or

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