NEW ROADS, LA — The City of New Roads has been named a 2012 Playful City USA community for its efforts to increase play opportunities for children to improve their physical, social and academic development, Mayor Robert Myer announced.
New Roads is among 213 cities and towns recognized nationally by the national non-profit organization KaBOOM!, which is dedicated to saving play for children and helping local governments address the play deficit that exists for most children.
“New Roads is a great place for families to work and live,” Myer said. “We are honored to be recognized for the work we’re doing to improve the quality of life for all our residents.”
KaBOOM! selected New Roads for its outstanding dedication to play. The city hosts a variety of events to engage the community, including Sundays in the Park, Rhythms on the River, the Fall Harvest Festival and the annual play day. This March, with help from the NBA New Orleans Hornets, the city officially dedicated a renovated local park.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is critical to healthy brain development. It allows children to use their creativity while simultaneously developing imagination, dexterity and physical, cognitive and emotional strength. Yet today’s children spend less time playing outside than any previous generation in part because only 1 in 5 live within walking distance of a park or playground. The resulting play deficit is having profound consequences for kids physically, socially and academically.
As one of the 213 Playful City USA communities selected, New Roads is now eligible for a $15,000, $20,000 or $30,000 grants via “Let’s Play,” a community partnership led by the Dr. Pepper-Snapple Group, to get kids and families active nationwide. Grant recipients will be announced on June 4, 2012.
The Playful City USA program, which was created by KaBOOM! in 2007, is supported by the Humana Foundation.
Through work with mayors, city council members, parks and recreation departments, school districts and community leaders to institute programs, resources and activities that benefit children.
Hailing from 41 states, the 213 Playful City USA honorees range in size from six-time honorees such as Orlando and Phoenix to first-time recipient Independence, Oregon (population: 9,607). These Playful City USA communities are making a commitment to play and physical activity by developing unique local action plans to increase the quantity and quality of play in their community.
“Some of the most innovative concepts and cost-effective programs are being developed in Playful City USA communities,” says Darell Hammond, Founder and CEO of KaBOOM! and author of The New York Times Best Seller KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play.
“Cities like New Roads are key allies in the fight to combat the play deficit and serve as outstanding role models for government and community leaders across the country.”
In the sixth year of the annual program, 19 Playful City USA communities received recognition for the sixth consecutive year, while 24 earned honors for the fifth time, 27 for the fourth time, 29 for the third time, 45 for the second time and 69 claimed their first Playful City USA designation.
For the fifth consecutive year, Florida paced the nation with 29 Playful City USA communities. California earned second-place with 24 communities, while Texas finished third with 14 Playful City USA communities.
For more information on the KaBOOM! Playful City USA program, including the “Let’s Play” grants and applications for 2013, visit www.playfulcityusa.org .