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Press release from Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation:

Adopt-a-Playground Program Introduced at Foster Park
Volunteers from Old National to clean up playground

(September 24, 2010) – The Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department is kicking off a new volunteer program, providing an avenue for citizen involvement to help maintain playgrounds. Based on similar successful programs, civic organizations are encouraged to adopt a playground for two-years, where they will have three clean-ups per year to maintain a safe and attractive place for kids to play.

Saturday at 9am, volunteers from Old National Bank/Insurance Company will kick off the Adopt-a-Playground program at Foster Park Playground. In addition to picking up the area, these volunteers will be raking extra mulch into the bare areas where kids kick up mulch – at the bottom of slides and swings are the most likely places.

“This program was an outgrowth from our Playful City USA award, a nationally recognized status for cities that care about their children and the importance of play,” said Al Moll, Director of Parks & Recreation. “Providing opportunities for play has emerged as a civic responsibility, and our new Adopt-a-Playground program offers citizens a way to help keep our playgrounds safe and appealing.”

Research indicates that play is essential for human development. Children do better in school because of the cognitive skills they learn on the playground, while learning social skills in these settings help them become happy, well-adjusted adults.

One of the many factors that create barriers to play is the perception that playgrounds are rundown or unsafe. As a result, a Play Task Force created the Adopt-a-Playground program, to give people the opportunity to combat this perception and encourage play.

To learn more about Adopt-a-Playground, visit www.fortwayneparks.org and select Parks, then Adopt-a-Playground. A list of all playgrounds, along with their locations and dimensions is available, along with an Adopt-a-Playground agreement.

Fort Wayne was named a Playful City USA in August 2010, joining other cities who maintain great places to play in conjunction with a 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.

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