Gaston County Family YMCA, ESPN, Disney & KaBOOM! Build New Playground for Gastonia Children in One Day


GASTONIA – Before the sun set on June 28, children in Gastonia had a great new place to play.  The new playground was fully assembled in less than eight hours with the help of more than 200 Gaston County Family YMCA and ESPN volunteers, Disney VoluntEARS, KaBOOM! organizers, and local community residents.

Thursday’s playground will provide hundreds of children in Gastonia with a safe place to play. Planning for the playground began at a Design Day event held in May. Local children and community leaders met with organizers from ESPN, Disney and KaBOOM! to design their dream playground. The children’s drawings were then used to create the final playground design.

“The playground at the Central YMCA will bring a much needed outdoor element of play for the members of the Y and the central and west Gastonia community,” said Tony Sigmon, Gaston County Family YMCA CEO. “We are thrilled to be able to enhance the experience of people who come to the Y by adding this playground, the community garden and the outdoor amphitheater.”

“Every child deserves to have a great place to play and we’re thrilled to continue our work with ESPN and Disney in striving toward that goal,” said Darell Hammond, KaBOOM! Founder & CEO. “Thanks to the efforts from ESPN, Disney, KaBOOM! and the Gaston County Family YMCA, we moved one step closer to the KaBOOM! vision of a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.”

Disney is a KaBOOM! National Partner, and supports the nonprofit’s vision of a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since 2011, Disney has pledged more than $3.5 million to help build 18 playgrounds and learning gardens with the participation of more than a thousand Disney VoluntEARS. At the end of 2012, Disney will have helped KaBOOM! build close to thirty playgrounds.

“Only 1-in-5 children live within walking distance of a park or playground,” said Leslie Goodman, senior vice president, Disney Citizenship. “Disney is proud to join KaBOOM! and the Gaston County Family YMCA to build a new playground for the community. Together, we hope to make places to play more accessible, and inspire kids and families to stay active.”

To volunteer for the Playground Build, visit: http://www.gastonymca.org/2012/05/kaboom-playground-build-june-28th-2/

Gaston County Family YMCA

Originally organized in the late 1880’s, the Gaston County Family YMCA has upheld the remaining constant of the Christian Mission of the YMCA and the outstanding leadership provided by countless volunteers and staff. Together the YMCA of Gaston County has evolved to ensure area youth and families have the opportunity to experience the YMCA mission which is “to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.” Please visit www.gastonymca.org.


Team ESPN encompasses ESPN’s multi-faceted corporate outreach initiatives, including volunteerism, corporate giving and cause marketing, while utilizing its diverse media assets.  Through Team ESPN, ESPN employees and fans work together to make a difference in our world and the communities in which we live.   ESPN has funded and volunteered for numerous projects in the Bristol community.  Team ESPN’s slogan is Fans Helping Fans®.  For more information, please visit: www.teamespn.com.


The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products, and interactive media. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of about $40.9 billion in its last fiscal year. Disney Citizenship focuses on three key principles: act and create in an ethical manner; champion the happiness and well-being of kids and families; and inspire those around us to make a lasting, positive change in the world. Being a good corporate citizen is a time-honored Disney tradition.  Disney strives to support that goal through quality entertainment, strategic philanthropy, environmental conservation, respectful workplaces, and community engagement. For more information on Disney Citizenship, please visit: www.Disney.com/Citizenship2010


KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to saving play. Children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation, a fact that is having disastrous consequences on their health, achievement levels, and overall well-being. To fight this play deficit, social entrepreneur Darell Hammond founded non-profit KaBOOM! in 1996 in Washington, D.C. with a vision of creating a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since then, KaBOOM! has mapped over 89,000 places to play, built more than 2,000 playgrounds, and successfully advocated for play policies in hundreds of cities across the country. KaBOOM! also provides communities with online tools to self-organize and take action to support play on both a local and national level. Hammond chronicles the founding of the organization and the importance of the cause of play in his The New York Times Best Seller KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play. The book details how businesses and communities can work together to save play for children across the country. All author proceeds support KaBOOM!. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.

CONTACT                                                                                                       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Steve D’Avria, YMCA, 704-678-2976, sdavria@gastonymca.org            Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ben Cafardo, ESPN, 860-766-3496, ben.cafardo@espn.com                          

Alexandra Liakos, Disney, 818-567-5445, Alexandra.Liakos@disney.com

Mike Vietti, KaBOOM!, 785-320-2137, mvietti@kaboom.org

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