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Playgrounds for all
Detail: In 1994, Rockford-area businessman Dennis Johnson formed an organization with the goal of providing safe play equipment to children that otherwise did not have access. Bringing playgrounds to the children would allow victims of warfare, disease and natural disasters to have an opportunity to act like kids.
The first Kids Around the World playground was built in Brovary, Ukraine, Rockford’s sister city.

After the success of this initial project, Kids Around the World worked on projects throughout the United States and the world. After Hurricane Katrina, 25 playgrounds were built around New Orleans. Other projects have been completed in an AIDS orphanage in Zambia and as far away as Vietnam.

Requests for playgrounds soon outpaced materials, but purchasing a new playground meant that fewer communities would benefit from the program. By removing and refurbishing old playground equipment, Kids Around the World discovered a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to secure materials. The first recycled playground was rebuilt July 2009 in Mexico.

Kids Around the World approached the park district at the last Illinois Park and Recreation Association Conference. With the Atcher playground scheduled for renovation this year, the park district decided to donate the materials.
"It is a great thing," said Matt Gaynor, Schaumburg Park District park planner. "Our playgrounds have around a 15-year life span before we deem them ready for replacement. The equipment is often still usable."

Tim Clauson, Kids Around the World international playground director, said the most transformative build for him occurred in Zambia at the orphanage for children with AIDS. "They had never seen anything like it before," he said.
Clauson does not know where the Atcher Park equipment will end up yet, but he knows that the donation will be appreciated.

Atcher playground will be living its second life, and volunteers will be sending updates that show the Schaumburg Park District offering a helping hand to children around the world.
Source: By Christopher Troska, “Park district donates playground to Kids Around the World”, Chicago Daily Herald, July 13, 2010 Tuesday
Date: July 19 2010