ESPN Volunteers Improve Miami Kids’ Lives and Futures with Play

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ESPN Volunteers Improve Miami Kids’ Lives and Futures with Play

Branches, ESPN, Disney and KaBOOM! Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and Enrich the Lives of Kids and Families by Building a Healthy, Safe Space to Play in One Day

More than 250 children now have a new opportunity to get the balanced and active play they need. An empty lot was transformed into a kid-designed playspace in less than eight hours with the help of more than 200 volunteers from Branches (@BranchesFL), ESPN (@TeamESPN), Disney (@CitizenDisney), area residents and organizers from KaBOOM! (@kaboom).

“The entire KaBOOM! experience has simply been amazing,  and a huge thank you goes out to Disney and ESPN for their generous sponsorship of this project,“ said Brent McLaughlin, Executive Director, Branches. “This playground is such a special gift for the children and youth of Branches and truly this entire community. The KaBOOM! team has also been amazing to work with and their patience and support has been invaluable. It is just incredible that this project brought together over 200 volunteers to help build this new play area and I know that everyone involved will remember this day for as long as they live!”

A playground is more than a playground. It’s a brain-expander, friend-maker, and muscle-builder. Play is central to a child’s ability to grow into a productive adult. The design is based on children’s drawings created at a special event in May. Their ideas were then incorporated into the final playground design.

“ESPN International’s team based in Miami is thrilled to join forces with our colleagues at ESPN Deportes to build a new KaBOOM! Playground at the Miami Branches Center,” said Russell Wolff, Executive Vice President and Managing Director for ESPN International. “Together, we look to promote the health and well-being of kids and families, and support KaBOOM! in its vision of a great place to play for the children in the community.”

Since 1996, KaBOOM! has been dedicated to the goal of ensuring that all children get the balanced and active play they need to thrive because #PlayMatters. The new playground is one of many made possible with support from Disney as part of Magic of Healthy Living, an initiative that partners with parents to inspire kids to lead healthier lifestyles. By the end of 2014, Disney’s support will bring the magic of play to over 75,000 kids and families.

“ESPN Deportes is proud to join KABOOM! and Branches to build the new playground for the children in the community,“ said Lino Garcia, General Manager for ESPN Deportes. “Giving to the community of Miami is a great way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month; together we are creating a place for the children to play and incorporate more physical activity to the Branches’ program.”

Planning for the playground began at a Design Day event held in May. Local children and community leaders met with organizers from ESPN and KaBOOM! to design their dream playground. The final design of the playground was inspired by their drawings.

“Play is central to a child’s ability to grow into a healthy and productive adult,” said Kevin Callahan, vice president of community and engagement, Corporate Citizenship at Disney. “Disney is proud to join KaBOOM!  and accelerate efforts that move every child to play every day—at home, in school, and in the community. Together, we hope to make places to play more accessible, and inspire kids and families to stay active.”

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Gabriela Nuñez

Gaby Nuñez is manager of communications for ESPN Deportes and ESPN Latin American. She joined ESPN in October 2010 and is based in the company’s New York City offices. In this role, Gaby is responsible for the creative development, strategy and overall publicity efforts for ESPN Deportes and ESPN Latin America. Gaby grew up in Caracas, Venezuela and later moved to the U.S. Prior to joining ESPN, Gaby worked a various PR agencies in Miami and Los Angeles. She holds a B.A. from Florida International University.
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