For the third consecutive year, the Town of Oro Valley has earned the “Playful City USA” designation from national non-profit KaBOOM! Presented by The Humana Foundation, Playful City USA is a national program advocating for local policies that increase play opportunities for children and is a key platform in combating the play deficit.
“This designation is yet another acknowledgement of Oro Valley’s commitment to youth, and it’s one of the many reasons Bloomberg Businessweek recently named us the Best Place to Raise Kids in Arizona, ” commented Kristy Diaz-Trahan, director of Parks and Recreation. “I’d like to thank Mayor Hiremath, members of Town Council, and our residents for recognizing the value of safe, attractive and convenient places for children to play and explore.”
With research proving play is critical to the overall well-being of children, 217 cities and towns, including Oro Valley, earned recognition from national non-profit KaBOOM! as 2013 Playful City USA communities for their efforts to give children the childhood they deserve by providing ample opportunities for play.
Today’s generation of children play less than any previous generation despite the vast benefits of play. The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that play is essential to the social, emotional, cognitive and physical well-being of children.
One of the many reasons KaBOOM! selected Oro Valley is because the Town is researching opportunities to partner with homeowners associations for parks as public playspaces. The objective is to work with the homeowners associations and local residents to determine feasibility for this program, which would enable more children and families to have greater access to parks and playspaces.
“Kids need to play actively, every day, at home, in school and in their communities, yet play is disappearing,” said Darell Hammond, Founder and CEO of KaBOOM! and author of The New York Times Best Seller KaBOOM!: A Movement to Save Play. “Children spend nearly eight hours a day in front of a screen; almost half of all poor students are deprived of recess; and to make matters worse, only one in five children live within walking distance of a park. Playful City USA communities like Oro Valley are creating innovative programs and initiatives and deserve recognition because of their efforts to give kids the childhood they deserve and best prepare them for their future.”
For more information on the KaBOOM! Playful City USA program, visit www.playfulcityusa.org.