KaBOOM converts empty lot into children’s play space

Councilman Andy King (front, 5th from left), Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. (front, center) and Senator Jamaal Bailey (front, 3rd from right) with others prepare to cut the ribbon at a play space for children at 4010 Dyre Avenue in the Bronx, on Thursday, October 5.
Photo by Ray Maldonado

What was an empty lot at 4010 Dyre Avenue has been converted to a playground that will serve more than 1,300 children.

The children “now have a new opportunity to get the balanced and active play they need to thrive,” said Celesta Parisi, M.Ed., interim principal at the Astor Services for Children & Families’ Lawrence F. Hickey Center for Child Development.

The former lot was transformed into a kid-designed play space in less than eight hours on Thursday, October 5, with the help of more than 200 people from the center, Disney, area residents and organizers from KaBOOM!

“A playground offers children many learning opportunities,” said Parisi, who along with ASCF’s executive director James McGuirk, Ph.D., believes that play is integral to children’s full development.

“Play builds mental capacity, enhances socialization skills and contributes to the development of coordination and motor skills,” Parisi said. “Play is the work of childhood and is the basis of all learning — social and academic.”

The design of the playground was based on children’s drawings created at a special event in August at Astor’s Hickey Center in the Bronx, which were then incorporated into the final playground design. Elected officials attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony included Councilman Andy King, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and Senator Jamaal Bailey.

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 The Walt Disney Company Healthy Living Commitment, a long-standing commitment to create healthier generations by making healthy living fun and simple, according to the release.

“Our work with KaBOOM! promotes active and healthy lifestyles in the communities we serve,” said Kevin Callahan, vice president of Community and Engagement, Corporate Citizenship at Disney.

“Ensuring the happiness of kids is at the heart of what we do, and through our work in more than 75 communities, we are proud to help give kids the childhood they deserve through play,” Callahan said. KaBOOM! works to accelerate efforts that move every child in America to play every day. Together, Disney and KaBOOM! have built more than 75 new play spaces across America giving nearly 100,000 kids access to healthier lifestyles and safe places to play and grow, according to the release.

Astor Services for Children & Families, as it has since 1953, promotes the well-being of children, adolescents and their families through a range of programs that prevent and treat emotional problems and facilitate healthy development.

Now serving more than 8,000 children and families annually, Astor’s current range of services to families in the Mid-Hudson Valley and the Bronx include, residential treatment, therapeutic foster family care, early childhood programs, and community-based behavioral health and prevention services.

For additional information visit astorservices.org or call (845) 871-1117.

Reach Reporter Bob Guiliano at (718) 260-4599. E-mail him at bguiliano@cnglocal.com.

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