CARRIE UNDERWOOD’S C.A.T.S. FOUNDATION & KaBOOM! BUILD NEW PLAYGROUND FOR CHECOTAH CHILDREN
CHECOTAH, Okla. – (Oct. 14, 2011) - Country music superstar Carrie Underwood worked alongside hundreds of volunteers on Friday, where her C.A.T.S. Foundation - Checotah Animal, Town, and School Foundation - and national non-profit KaBOOM!, built a new playground in one day at Marshall Elementary School in Carrie’s hometown of Checotah, Oklahoma.
Underwood and the other volunteers assembled the child-designed playground from scratch in less than eight hours with the help of KaBOOM! and more than 200 volunteers on Friday, Oct. 14. Volunteers gathered for a kickoff ceremony at 8:30 a.m. and completed the playground project in time for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:30 p.m.
Underwood created C.A.T.S. Foundation in 2009 as a means to give back to her hometown of Checotah, OK. Since its inception, C.A.T.S. Foundation has contributed to the local community in many ways, including donating $117,000 in instruments to the school’s music program (with ACM Lifting Lives), rebuilding the local animal shelter, and making contributions to other local groups in need.
“We had the most amazing day putting together something truly special for the kids – and the community,” said Underwood. “I’m so proud that so many volunteered their time to be here today.”
During the course of the day, Underwood painted a mural, planted vegetation and assembled several playground components, including a Horse Spring Rider and a Tree House Barrier. In total, volunteers mixed and moved more than 12,000 pounds of concrete and moved 43,740 square feet of safety surfacing by hand – enough to cover nearly 10 NBA-sized basketball courts. The new 2,500 square-foot playground includes equipment for children of all ages, including a 360 degree spiral slide, a tree house climber and a tire swing.
“On behalf of the Marshall Elementary students and staff, I would like to thank Carrie Underwood for her generous donation to KaBOOM!, which made this playground project possible,” said Jann Ledbetter, Marshall Elementary Principal. “It is particularly special for us because this was Carrie’s elementary school. At Marshall we believe that play is of the utmost importance in the physical, mental and social development of young children. We are incredibly grateful to the C.A.T.S. Foundation, KaBOOM!, and community and parent volunteers who have come together in making our dream playground a reality. Together we have positively affected our current and future student’s lives for the better.”
Planning for the playground began at a Design Day event held in August when local children and community leaders met with organizers from the C.A.T.S. Foundation and KaBOOM! to design their dream playground. The children's drawings were then used to create the final playground design.
KaBOOM! is a national non-profit organization dedicated to saving play. For 15 years, KaBOOM! has been fighting the Play Deficit, and this project is one of more than 150 playground builds KaBOOM! will lead across the country in 2011 in an effort to provide a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.
“We’re thrilled that C.A.T.S. Foundation and KaBOOM! share the same commitment of fighting the play deficit among children by bringing communities together to build playgrounds,” said Darell Hammond, KaBOOM! Founder and CEO and author of The New York Times Best SellerKaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play. “Thanks to Carrie’s C.A.T.S. Foundation, children in Checotah now have a terrific new playground and KaBOOM! moved one step closer to our vision of a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.”
Checotah Animal, Town, and School Foundation
Established in 2009 by country superstar Carrie Underwood, the C.A.T.S. Foundation was created to help with general causes, needs, and services in the area of Checotah, OK, to directly impact her hometown community. In August of 2009, C.A.T.S. Foundation partnered with ACM Lifting Lives to donate over $117,000 in new instruments for Checotah’s school music programs. In 2010, C.A.T.S. helped in the rebuilding of Checotah’s animal shelter, Happy Paws. For more information on C.A.T.S. Foundation, or to make a donation, please visit http://www.thecatsfoundation.com <http://www.thecatsfoundation.com
Marshall Elementary School
Built in 1977, Marshall Elementary currently serves 452 students in grades pre-kindergarten through second. The staff is dedicated and skilled with a commitment to delivering high quality educational instruction that is well organized and developmentally appropriate. Our integrated curriculum includes language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, art, music, physical education, computers, and library media. Marshall Elementary offers a variety of support programs such as speech, resource reading, Native American education, grandmother program, school nurse, counseling, and mentoring. For more information visitwww.checotah.k12.ok.us.
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to saving play. Children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation, a fact that is having disastrous consequences on their health, achievement levels, and overall well-being. To fight this Play Deficit, social entrepreneur Darell Hammond founded non-profit KaBOOM! 15 years ago in Washington, D.C. with a vision of creating a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since then, KaBOOM! has mapped over 85,000 places to play, built more than 2,000 playgrounds, and successfully advocated for play policies in hundreds of cities across the country. KaBOOM! also provides communities with online tools to self-organize and take action to support play on both a local and national level. Hammond chronicles the founding of the organization and the importance of the cause of play in his The New York Times Best Seller KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play. The book details how businesses and communities can work together to save play for children across the country. All author proceeds support KaBOOM!. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.