WASHINGTON, April 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Longtime national partners The CarMax Foundation and KaBOOM! are providing six life-size creative play sets to community organizations that serve military families during the «Week of Play» from April 8-12, 2019. The partners will host six community events across the country during «Week of Play» to make play more accessible to kids of veterans and active duty service members. The «Week of Play» takes place each year during April, which is designated as the Month of the Military Child and was established to bring awareness to the important role kids play in the armed forces community. The partners kicked off this month’s activities on April 3 by working with the City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation to build a new community playground at Kennedy Park, located in a community with a large military family population. Through this partnership, The CarMax Foundation, KaBOOM! and community organizations will make it easier for area kids of military families to explore, create and connect through play.

Many kids experience significant emotional impact when a parent deploys or returns home from military service, or when they move locations frequently. According to Blue Star Families’ annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey, impacts of deployment on kids continues to be a top issue for both service members and military spouses. When kids face uncertainty or stress, play creates a safe buffer against the change or adversity around them. A vast majority, 96% of military family respondents, feel that «working with neighbors to improve communities is important» but nearly half, «48% of military family respondents, feel they don’t belong in their local civilian community; and yet 43% feel they don’t belong in their military community.»

At the playground project, The CarMax Foundation, KaBOOM!, and the City of San Antonio brought hundreds of volunteers together to build a new playground in just six hours. The playground was designed based on local kids’ drawings of their dream playgrounds at a special event hosted at Winston Elementary School. This new playground will help to serve all families living in the Thompson neighborhood. Many families in this community have expressed that while their experience moving to San Antonio has been positive, they are still seeking additional community support to make the transition easier on their kids.

«CarMax associates are deeply committed to supporting military communities and we’re proud to partner with KaBOOM! to make playspaces more accessible to children of military families across the country,» said Matt Aman, president of The CarMax Foundation. «As a veteran, I personally know the stress military families are under and how important play can be. When you are deployed and away from your family, knowing that they are happy, healthy, and supported in the community allows you to focus on the mission.»

The CarMax Foundation has provided the majority of the funding for the playgrounds and creative play sets through its national partnership with KaBOOM!, supporting The Foundation’s commitment to furthering the cause of kids’ healthy living. Through a multiyear national partnership with KaBOOM!, The CarMax Foundation will help create more play opportunities for 170,000 more kids by 2021 – a $4.4 million investment that will serve thousands of kids. The CarMax Foundation supports KaBOOM! in ensuring that all kids get the play they need to thrive.

«Opportunities to play are an essential part of childhood and help kids develop resiliency and grit, as they fall and pick themselves up,» said James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!. «We’re thrilled to continue our long-standing partnership with The CarMax Foundation and this focused commitment to supporting our military community. Through our work, we have seen that when kids experience stress or transition in their lives, play often provides a creative outlet to help them cope, and can restore normalcy and stability. We know this is particularly true for kids who move often or have deployed parents, and are looking forward to working with community partners to create more opportunities for kids to experience the healing power of play.»

During the «Week of Play», the six grants for creative play sets, Imagination Playground™ and Rigamajig™, will be provided to the following child-serving non-profits that span across the country: 

  • Belleaire Elementary School in Bellevue, NE –
  • Kids Rank in Highland Park, IL –
  • Bridge Creek Elementary School in Elgin, SC –
    Imagination Playground™
  • New Hanover Township School in Wrightstown, NJ
  • Child Crisis Center of El Paso –
  • Tinker Elementary School in Oklahoma City, OK

Each grantee is celebrating the receipt of the play sets through community events. Imagination Playground™ empowers kids to build and rebuild the playspace of their dreams using a collection of blue foam blocks with no limits to their creativity. Rigamajig™, a collection of wooden planks, wheels, pulleys, nuts, bolts and rope, allows kids to follow their curiosity through play while learning 21st century skills. The Foundation and KaBOOM! are committed to providing experiences in individual and group collaboration so military kids grow up able to connect, collaborate, problem solve and think creatively through active play opportunities that will prepare them for tomorrow.

The CarMax Foundation
The CarMax Foundation enriches the communities where our associates live and work. Together with CarMax, Inc., the Foundation has donated more than $50 million since 2003. Funding programs are made available through a portion of CarMax, Inc.’s pre-tax profits. CarMax, a member of the FORTUNE 500 and the S&P 500 and on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list for 15 consecutive years, is the nation’s largest retailer of used cars. For 25 years, CarMax has made car buying more ethical, fair and stress-free by offering a no-haggle, no-hassle experience and an incredible selection of vehicles. CarMax makes selling your car easy too, by offering no-obligation appraisals good for seven days. At CarMax, we’ll buy your car even if you don’t buy ours®. For more information, access the CarMax website at www.carmax.com.

KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – especially those living in poverty – the childhood they deserve through great, safe places to play. KaBOOM! inspires communities to make play the easy choice and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of PLAYces. KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build or improve more than 17,000 playspaces, engage over 1.5 million volunteers and serve nearly 10 million kids. To learn why play matters for all kids, visit kaboom.org and join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom, facebook.com/kaboom and instagram.com/kaboom. #playmatters #PLAYceforKids



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