When we first moved back to Rhode Island from NYC, we had William (who was 16 months) and Alexander (who was 4 months) and we immediately joined our local YMCA. The very first day we went to check out the facility, we saw an amazing play space for kids there, it was a play space created by KaBOOM. It was incredible to see so many kids playing on it that day we went to visit the YMCA… it wasn't even that warm of a day, but kids were were running and laughing and chasing and climbing and PLAYING. It made me smile as I looked at my 2 little guys, I knew someday that would be them in there…
Little did I know back in 2005 that I would have 4 little boys enjoying that VERY play space years later. And that's exactly how it's been. We have been members of our local YMCA since 2005, our oldest son went through the preschool there, our 2 middle guys are going through the preschool there right now, and we just signed up our littlest guy for preschool there for next year! And the play space has become the central piece of the school for my boys. They love to play there before school (only on very special days when we're out of the house before 8:30AM!), they love to play there after school and they love to play there throughout the summer. It's a child's dream play area, there's something for every child.
And it all started with KaBOOM, they were the ones who brought this play space to our YMCA back in 2003.
KaBOOM is a national non-profit dedicated to saving play for America’s children. With so much technology at our youth's fingertips nowadays, it's refreshing to see an organization that is all about keeping our kids PLAYING. I was beyond intrigued with KaBOOM from the second I found out they created the play space at my sons' school, which was one of the reason's we wanted to join our YMCA because they offered such incredible things for my kids, the play space (open year round) being one of them.
I'm mentioning all of this for a reason. A very special reason. A few weeks ago I went to the Mom 2.0 Conference in New Orleans, which Lifetime Moms sponsored me to attend, I had an experience of a lifetime… I got to help build a play space with KaBOOM.
I recently became an ambassador for Let's Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide. As a blogger, I have to spend my days online, but I don't want my sons thinking the norm for "play" is online and in front of the TV. As a child I spent my DAYS outside playing with my brothers and sister, with the neighborhood kids and with my school friends. We would ride bikes, we would play in my backyard, we would play games and we had a ton of fun PLAYING. I want my sons to know that… to have that. It's become very important to me as a mom. So when Let's Play announced that they were hosting a special service project during Mom 2.0 with KaBOOM, I was ecstatic! I hadn't been to New Orleans in over 10 years, so hearing about what was new since Katrina, it was very powerful. Everything needed to be re-created, everything. Let's Play brought together over 30 moms and dads from Mom 2.0 to head to an area in New Orleans that had been completely destroyed, to help build a play space with KaBOOM. As we drove up to the location, it blew my mind away to think that it was even humanly possible for a play space to be constructed in 1 day. But it was true… it can be done. We arrived around 1:30PM, and there had been volunteers working since 8AM that morning putting it up!
And we did exactly what we came to do… we rolled up our sleeves and started to build for the KIDS of this area in New Orleans so they could have a safe, fun and special play area.
For me, it was an emotional afternoon. I felt honored to do something for New Orleans. I felt honored to do something for kids. I felt honored to be creating something so special and something that will be so enjoyed by hundreds and hundreds of kids. It was incredible to see the amount of volunteers out… all strangers coming together with the same goal in mind… all working side by side, everyone there with a smile and a sense of purpose.
When I thought of the kids who would be using this play space, it made me think of my own sons. It made me think of that day at the YMCA back in 2005 when I first saw this amazing play space and knew that I wanted my sons to have fun and play on it. I thought of the moms who would come to the New Orleans play area with their own kids and kids-to-be and watch them run around and play with smiles form ear-to-ear on their faces. It did something to my heart, it really made it soar. Giving back is such an incredible thing to do, and as moms… I know we can get caught up in our busy lives and schedules, but to stop for a second and do something for your community, or a community you're not a part of, just because… it's something that's very meaningful.
Thank you to Mom 2.0 and Let's Play for making all of this happen. It changed me.
And thank you to Lifetime Moms for the opportunity to do head to Mom 2.0 to be a part of this amazing purpose.