City of Mesa News Article
Mesa names among 217 "Playful City USA" Communities
By: Lily King-Cisneros
05/7/13 7:58 AM

May 7, 2013
Parks and Recreation
Contact: Lily King-Cisneros
Tel. 480-644-4119
Contact: Mike ViettiKaBOOM!
785-320-2137 or 352-278-0522
Building a Movement for Play: Non-Profit Organization KaBOOM!
Names Mesa Among 217 “Playful City USA” Communities
Mesa, AZ – With research proving play is critical to the overall well-being of children, 217 cities and towns, including Mesa, earned recognition from national non-profit KaBOOM! as 2013 Playful City USA communities for their efforts to give children the childhood they deserve by providing ample opportunities for play.
“We are delighted that Mesa was chosen again this year as Playful City USA,” Mesa Parks, Recreation and Commercial Facilities Director, Marc Heirshberg said. “This year we rolled out our new brand ‘Your Place to Play’ so, residents can easily associate our recreation programs and events.  It doesn’t matter if you’re old or young; it’s all about creating that healthy lifestyle that includes ‘play’ for all of us.”
KaBOOM!, the national non-profit organization dedicated to giving kids the childhood they deserve by bringing play to those who need it most, created Playful City USA in 2007 to help local governments address the lack of play and it is through mayors, city council members, parks and recreation departments, school districts and community leaders that the program succeeds in benefitting children.
“Kids need to play actively, every day, at home, in school and in their communities, yet play is disappearing,” said Darell Hammond, Founder and CEO of KaBOOM! and author of The New York Times Best Seller KaBOOM!: A Movement to Save Play. “Children spend nearly eight hours a day in front of a screen; almost half of all poor students are deprived of recess; and to make matters worse, only one in five children live within walking distance of a park. Playful City USA communities like Mesa are creating innovative programs and initiatives and deserve recognition because of their efforts to give kids the childhood they deserve and best prepare them for their future.”
KaBOOM! also selected Mesa for its outstanding dedication to play. Mesa has developed a framework for planning and generating support from the community and city leaders for the growth of play in Mesa. Twice a year a free celebration is held in two city parks that encourage people to come out and play.
“Our Celebrate Mesa events held twice a year are very popular,” Herishberg added.  “About 7,000 people come out and party with us. The entire festival is free with free rides, games, music, dance, food and fun.  It’s a great time to have families not only enjoy our parks but to get active with us.”
The 217 Playful City USA communities are now eligible for $15,000, $20,000 and $30,000 grants via Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide. Grant recipients will be announced in the fall.
For more information on the KaBOOM! Playful City USA program, including Let’s Play grants and applications for 2014, visit and for more information on Mesa’s Parks and Recreation Department visit:
About KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving kids the childhood they deserve by bringing play to those who need it most. 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. 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 because children need to play actively every day at home, in school and in their communities. Since then, KaBOOM! has mapped over 90,000 places to play, built more than 2,200 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!: A Movement to Save Play, now out in paperback. 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 an office in San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit

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