Uvalde Dual Language Academy to Unveil Kid-Designed, Community-Built Playspace
Students at Uvalde C.I.S.D. Dual Language Academy in Uvalde, Texas, are celebrating as the school debuts a kid-designed, community-built playground. The months-long collaboration between Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, The Community Foundation Uvalde Forever Fund, Bank of America, the San Antonio Spurs, Sport for Healing Fund, and KABOOM! culminated this week as at least 150 volunteers built the new playspace.
The new playground was a collaborative effort by community members, including kids, who presented creative ideas for their dream playground during a design day in March. The playspace at Uvalde C.I.S.D. Dual Language Academy will spark joy and foster a sense of belonging for its students. This is the third playground built in Uvalde through its partnership with KABOOM! to support community healing unity and healing.
The project is part of The Community Foundation Uvalde Forever Fund’s commitment to supporting the efforts of local organizations providing residents of Uvalde programs and resources throughout their healing process.
“The Community Foundation Uvalde Forever Fund is honored to be a part of bringing joy and healing through play to the students at UDLA,” said Lucy Reinhardt, Fund Coordinator at The Community Foundation Uvalde Forever Fund. “We hope this playground, along with KABOOM’s several other projects, will be a positive force in the lives of Uvalde families now and for many years to come.”
The playspace at Uvalde C.I.S.D. Dual Language Academy was also largely encouraged by Coach Norma Jean Sandoval, who has worked over 20 years in the Uvalde C.I.S.D. and advocated the need for a new playground. Coach Sandoval’s dedication to Uvalde C.I.S.D. Dual Language Academy receiving an updated place to play is a reflection of the community’s commitment to the kids and restoring joyful childhoods in the City of Uvalde.
“Playgrounds are where nothing else matters,” said Coach Sandoval. “Kids can play freely and laugh together outside of a structured classroom environment. This playground will allow them some much needed fun and relaxation from what’s happening in the world around them.”
“At Uvalde C.I.S.D., we believe in the importance of providing our students with safe and engaging places to learn and play,” said Gary Patterson, Interim Superintendent, U.C.I.S.D. “Our partnership with KABOOM! has allowed us to create new and inclusive playspaces that will foster a sense of community at UDLA. We are grateful for their support and dedication to the well-being of our students.”
The San Antonio Spurs and Sport for Healing Fund provided support for the new playground through its partnership with KABOOM!, furthering its commitment to ending playspace inequity. In response to the tragedy at Robb Elementary School, the fund was created to provide mental health resources and safe playspaces for local youth. The new playground at Uvalde C.I.S.D. Dual Language Academy is the first major project funded by Sport for Healing and the first time partnering with KABOOM!.
“At Spurs Sports & Entertainment, we believe in moving at the speed of community and supporting our friends and neighbors in times of tragedy,” says Dr. Kara Allen, Chief Impact Officer for Spurs Sports & Entertainment. “Through the launch of the Sport for Healing Fund following the Uvalde tragedy and our partnership with KABOOM!, we are increasing access to healing and providing students at Uvalde C.I.S.D. Dual Language Academy a safe space to play and learn.”
Playing is the essence of childhood and is a critical developmental need that provides countless physical, social, and mental health benefits. However, far too many children, especially in communities of color, do not have a place to play near where they live or learn. KABOOM! is working to end playspace inequity, ensuring that kids have access to quality places to play, something that should be part of every child’s life. The new playground at Uvalde C.I.S.D. Dual Language Academy, designed with the neighborhood’s unique needs and aspirations in mind, brings Uvalde one step closer toward ending playspace inequity and ensuring that every kid has the opportunity to experience the joys and benefits of play.
Bank of America also provided support for the new playground through its partnership with KABOOM!, furthering its commitment to ending playspace inequity.
“Playgrounds are places of joy and refuge where children and families learn to appreciate the outdoors and the healing power of play,” said Ventura Perez, President Bank of America San Antonio. “As part of our commitment to Responsible Growth, Bank of America partners with organizations like KABOOM! to help make community-directed ideas like this playground a reality.”
After considerable work with the City of Uvalde, an official partner in KABOOM!’s 25 in 5 Initiative to End Playspace Inequity, and community leaders, KABOOM! has identified the need for additional playspaces and will be working to eliminate playspace inequity in Uvalde. The 25 in 5 Initiative to End Playspace Inequity is KABOOM!’s bold goal of achieving playspace equity in 25 places nationwide in five years. With the building of the identified playgrounds needed locally, every kid in Uvalde will have equitable access to places to play for kids in need of normalcy, restored childhoods, and joy.
“Throughout the history of our organization, our work has been rooted in the healing power of play,” said Lysa Ratliff, CEO of KABOOM!. “As we continue to partner with Uvalde in bold, new ways, we hope that KABOOM! can play a small role in supporting the community as they continue to heal and create amazing places for the kids to play, learn, and just be happy and healthy kids."