KaBOOM! Kid Design coordinator Evan Mynatt gets suggestions from co-op kids for the new playground. Photo by Tim Young/Street Sense.

KaBOOM! leads a new playground project in Anacostia to promote health 

“Monkey Bars! A slide! Swings!” exclaimed Ashley Blake, one of the nearly 20 new playground designers in her Anacostia neighborhood. Blake, 6, was joined Tuesday, August 24 by her playmates and neighbors at the People’s Co-Op on Elvan’s Road as they drew and yelled out their demands for the new playground, they will have built for them.  

KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit, builds playgrounds to improve the lives of children and adults. It has chosen The People’s Co-Op to be one of the recipients of a playground project in Washington, DC. “Our goal is to build a playground within walking distance of every child in America,” said spokesperson and kid design coordinator Evan Mynatt.  

KaBOOM!’s co-sponsor for the construction is the government office of Kraft Foods, who provides most of the food products that the children get excited about. Mynatt began the design time with a couple of easy questions, “Who here eats Lunchables? How about Mac ‘N’ Cheese? And I bet you all drink Kool Aid!” Each was met with building excitement and screams of “YES!” Kraft Foods hopes that their investment in projects such as these will improve the health of children around the nation.  

The parents and community leaders of the People’s Co-Op are also excited for the playground’s construction. “This project is exciting,” said Andrea Giles. “This is the first time something like this has happened to our community, and I know it will keep the kids active and out of trouble.” Other adults weighed in on what they would like to see built in the playground. “I would like to see swings and a sliding board,” said Clara Reynolds.  

Another adult, Dion Byers said, “I want to be the first one on the swings.”  

The playground will be built in conjunction with Kraft Foods’ Delicious Difference Week, October 4-9. In 2010, KaBoom! is helping communities construct 180 similar playgrounds around the nation in conjunction with multiple corporate sponsors. They have built over 1800 similar projects since the program began.  

“Communities go through a tough selection process in order to be chosen for a playground,” said Lisa Palmer, Director of Corporate Development for KaBOOM! Palmer went on to say that KaBOOMaides communities that are dedicated to improving the lives of its children. “The people of this community have excited and inspired us (while developing the playground) and have done a lot to make this project come to life.”  

The KaBOOM! playground is one of many ongoing projects which are improving the Anacostia area. It is nearly impossible to drive through the South Eastern section of Washington, D.C. and not see a new art building or growing small business. There are multiple new building and housing developments along the road to the People’s Co-Op, which bring an unmistakably fresh look to the community. These improvements have begun to attract new community members to the area while paying homage to Anacostia’s rich cultural traditions.  

People’s Co-Op resident Wanda Reynolds excitedly summed up everything that has been going on in the region in four words, “It’s a Positive Change!”