The KaBOOM and KoolAid Playground Build
The one thing I really love about being a parenting blogger is getting the opportunity to showcase amazing people who are making the world a better place for communities in need. And last month, I got the chance to step away from the laptop, and roll up my sleeves with more than one dozen incredible moms as we helped build a playground for the community of Inglewood, California on behalf of KaBOOM! and Kool-Aid. I was thrilled to have been an integral part of the event - reaching out to some of my favorite writers and blogging community leaders from across the country and meeting some incredible women on the west coast - including fabulous Lifetime Mom and Bizzie Mommy, Stephanie Elie, who joined me for an amazing day with Reverend Run (aka Joseph Simmons), his beautiful wife Justine and their kids, as well as the community of Inglewood, who came together to transform a barren lot into an amazing playground for kids!
KaBOOM! is a national non profit organization dedicated to bringing play back into the lives of children. Since1995, the organization has built more than 1700 playgrounds in disadvantaged communities nationwide. And this past week, with the help of Kool-Aid, the organization set out to change the lives of children and families living in Inglewood, CA. Kool-Aid has been a proud sponsor of the organization for several years, having teamed up on 27 playground builds and counting!
Wearing red smiley face Kool-Aid shirts and construction gloves, we were put to work as soon as we arrived. Our first mission was to assemble a slide and I was joined by Jennifer James, Mommy Niri and Bizzie Mommy as we attempted to fit the pieces together without it toppling on us. Ironically, we were so busy tweeting about our experience, it was tough to hold onto the slide, while sharing photos and documenting our first task!
Meanwhile, Kim at Traveling Mom and Carrie at Cruise Buzz joined a group of young firemen in training to assemble a bridge and ladder. While it seemed as if they were making tremendous progress on their project, Niri, Jennifer and I moved on to another task when one of our screws became stuck and we had to find an expert to help us get our slide back on track!
While our slide was being examined by Caleb, a KaBOOM! representative who bears a striking similarity to Ty Pennington, a KaBOOM! team member brought us over to a park bench that featured a beautiful sketch of a bridge, sea creatures and the ocean. It was time to paint a mural...and within minutes, several of us gathered around the bench and began to bring it to life. Incidentally, one of the most talented artists on our blogger team was Ciaran Blumenfeld with Momfluential! Ciaran spent her time recreating an octopus, sea horses and even Nemo! I, on the other hand had fun mixing paint colors and discovered that dark blue and white make a pretty shade of lavender!
By the time the bench was complete, I was tapped for a very important job...mixing concrete! Together, with Liz at Los Angelista, Ana at Spanglish Baby and YvonneinLA, we grabbed shovels and began some serious hard work. After mixing three loads of concrete, my forearms were aching! Meanwhile, Tina and her daughter at Send Chocolate were busy shoveling mulch along with Traveling Mom, Cruise Buzz and Andrea at Hip Moms Who Work. Meanwhile, Jennifer at Mom Bloggers Club carried flowers over to the pergola and garden that was being built adjacent to the playground. The one thing I loved was that all of us got to do things we had never tried before and before we knew it, the entire place miraculously took shape in front of our eyes.
While we took a much deserved In and Out Burger and Kool-Aid fun fizz break - Reverend Run and his family arrived and began contributing their time and hard work to the build too! While Rev Run, his wife Justine and their kids settled in, they began painting a bench nearby and shoveling more mulch to add to the build. Several of us then got the chance to meet the family and chat with Justine Simmons, who is a passionate mom who talked about the importance of giving back to communities in need. Plus, when she and Rev Run said they had never heard of a mommy blog before, we convinced her that she should start a blog of her own! Incidentally, Rev Run announced "Mommy bloggers are going to take over the world!" Take a look at my interview with Justine Simmons and hear how her family first became involved with KaBOOM! and Kool-Aid:
As the anticipation continued building the children of Inglewood were escorted into the playground area and stood nearby for the exciting ribbon cutting ceremony. As the Kool-Aid man burst through a paper brick wall, cheers erupted through the crowd as they viewed the spectacular playground that had been built by hardworking members of their own community. Within seconds, Rev Run cut the ribbon, the kids were ecstatic and couldn't wait to play! And that is what happiness is all about!
For a photo montage of our day, check out the photos below!