VA Hospitals, Fisher Houses to Get Playgrounds

VA Hospitals, Fisher Houses to Get Playgrounds http://wp.me/p1d7d0-9D7Photo courtesy of KaBOOM!

A new partnership between non-profit playground organization KaBOOM! and the Department of Veteran Affairs means new play equipment or full fledged playgrounds at some VA facilities or VA-located Fisher Houses across the U.S.

If you’ve ever tried to take your kid, well, anywhere, you know how invaluable a play area can be, especially if you’re asking your kids to do something really boring like wait a super long time at any kind of medical appointment. Forget a playground, I’m happy to just see worn out puzzles or books near a waiting room.

Thanks to funding from The CarMax Foundation, KaBOOM! is building four playgrounds and giving 30 mobile play equipment grants to the VA and other military veteran and family organizations to  supply play options for kids in 34 locations.

“Our customer is the veteran, so we always think all things veteran,” said Lelia Jackson who directs the VA’s office of community engagement. “Now we’re thinking about children in the VA space because of the donation we’ve received.”

Adding playgrounds and play areas to VA facilities will make hospital stays and even appointments that much easier for everyone. Often, Jackson said, veterans bring their kids with them to the hospital — especially if they are using a nearby Fisher House. Helping the family relax is an extension of taking care of the veteran, she said.

For the non-permanent play areas, KaBOOM! is giving their rigamajig and imagination playground systems which can be moved.

The locations that will be receiving the play equipment and playgrounds will be based off a few factors, Jackson said, including need and their proximity to a Carmax location, since that company made the donation to make the grants possible. KaBOOM! designs their playgrounds around the community’s needs and demographics, so locations that will receive a permanent structure will be studied before those are installed. Additionally, installation will be a community project, with local veterans given the chance to volunteer, Jackson said.

VA users can start looking for new playgrounds and systems by the end of this year, while a few locations are already in the process, including Veterans Affairs Palo Alto.

 

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on CNN.com, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.