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Press release from Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation:

Non-Profit Organization KaBOOM! Names Fort Wayne a “Playful City USA” Community

Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Director Al Moll announced today that Fort Wayne has been named a Playful City USA Community. Representatives from Turnstone Center, the League for the Blind & Disabled, Easter Seals Arc and the YMCA joined the celebration as partners with the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department in this initiative.

KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to saving play, recognized 118 cities across the country as Playful City USA communities, including Fort Wayne, which was selected for it’s outstanding dedication to play.

“Fort Wayne’s Play Task Force spent the last eight months focused on making play important for our children, including a series of free, citywide play days. KaBOOM! recognized the many initiatives that were taken to keep our kids safe and healthy,” said Director Moll. “Don’t miss our last play day this summer – a Block Party at the League for the Blind and Disabled on August 28, 1 – 5 pm.”

Future plans include an Adopt-a-Playground program. Community and civic groups will be asked to adopt a playground for two years, with planned cleanups three times each year. This will be a way for adults to get involved in making sure our playgrounds are clean and safe for the community’s children.

Mayor Tom Henry continues to support the Playful City initiative. “One of the goals of my administration is to provide our citizens, especially our children, more opportunities for an active lifestyle,” said Mayor Henry. “Unstructured play is vital to the development of healthy people.”

KaBOOM! inspires communities to build and maintain great places to play in conjunction with its vision of keeping children happy and healthy. Playful City USA communities create best practices, serve as role models for other communities and prove that enhancing children’s well-being by increasing the opportunity for play is an attainable goal for every community.

“An extreme misconception exists in our country that play among children is a luxury when, in fact, it’s an absolute necessity,” said Darell Hammond, KaBOOM! CEO and Co-founder. “For decades, this notion dominated our actions and we continue to see the damaging results: a monumental lack of playspaces for children and sky-rocketing childhood obesity rates. Fort Wayne refused to adhere to the status quo and realized all children deserve a municipal commitment to the cause of play. These 118 Playful City USA communities serve as beacons for the rest of our nation that an investment in children is an investment in our future.”

For more information on the KaBOOM! Playful City USA program, including applications for 2011, visit www.kaboom.org/playfulcityusa.

Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation website

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