Every year, the Pacific Dental Services® Foundation and the Smile Generation® partners with KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to ensuring that all kids get a childhood filled with the balanced and active play, to build playgrounds in underserved communities. In less than 24 hours, PDS team members and other volunteers help transform vacant lots into safe places for children to play.
“Play is an equity issue, too. For the 14 million kids living in poverty, play is too hard to come by as their families face many obstacles to play; from a lack of safe places, under-resourced schools that cut recess and physical education, and too much screen time.” – KaBOOM.org
The latest playground build took place October 20, 2018 onsite at Futuro Academy, a public charter school in East Las Vegas, NV. The students at Futuro Academy are socioeconomically disadvantaged and 42% of students are English Language Learners. The school lacks outdoor play equipment, which is a crucial component in the healthy physical and social development of all students.
The build day started off with volunteers arriving at an empty site. Within hours, volunteers transformed the space into a community-inspired, state-of-the-art playground.
Dozens of proud community members were present and in awe of the build. Many participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony, which featured a handmade banner crafted by grateful Futuro Academy students. There was live music throughout the day, and both community members and volunteers alike were full of energy and purpose.
Providing an oasis in an underserved community, the playground creates a safe place where more than 300 Futuro Academy students and community members in East Las Vegas feel valued and loved and where their potential is supported, nurtured, and celebrated.
At the same time as the build, The Pacific Dental Services® Foundation, along with Smile Generation®-trusted dentists, partnered with members of Futuro Academy and Chicanos por la Causa to provide free, basic dental services to residents through a free mobile dental clinic at the build site. They served 80 patients, donating $47,265 in dentistry, with the help of 44 volunteers!
This build marks the 13th playground PDS and KaBOOM! have built together. These playgrounds span across five states, providing thousands of kids with access to balanced and active play.
Having a deeply rooted culture of service, PDS leads several initiatives creating Healthier, Happier Patients® and healthy communities. This playground is one of many national and international initiatives that strive to promote academic achievement, healthy play, social skills, well being, and fun for children in need. After all, healthy happy communities start with healthy happy kids.
PDS volunteers hard at work last weekend:
To witness the 2017 playground build in Phoenix and the effects it had on both PDS volunteers and the community in this video:
Read other Pacific Dental Services stories on Group Dentistry Now – HERE
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