Park project seeks 200 volunteers

Published 10:35 pm Monday, July 9, 2012

More than 200 volunteers from across the area will converge on the corner of Green Street and First Avenue next Thursday to build a playground and provide more than 1,000 Selma children a safe place to play.

Selma city officials have joined organizers from KaBoom, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to saving play, to build the playground in Ward 4.

KaBoom organizers said the playground would be built from the ground up in no more than six hours on July 19, regardless of weather conditions.

“I am really excited for build day,” said Selma City Councilwoman Angela Benjamin, who has been working to get the organization to come to Selma since 2008. “The closer we get to the date, the more excited I become.”

With the help of KaBoom, the City of Selma, the local Hanil E Hwa and International Paper, more than $8,000 was raised to help build the playground and combat what organizers say is a lack of play affecting the entire county.

“Right now, we’re using word of mouth, social media and email, trying to get civic organizations, sororities, fraternities, churches and the general community to come out and help,” Benjamin said. “We really need the community to show up for these children.”

Last month, dozens of area children spent an hour drawing their dream playgrounds for KaBoom and city officials involved the project, who then took the children’s ideas and designed the one-of-a-kind playground.

Benjamin said she was first motivated to bring KaBoom to Selma when she attended a conference in 2008, learned about the organization and witnessed a build day in Orlando, Fla.

“While I was there, I saw that it’s not just building a playground,” she said. “There’s a lot more involved in build day.

The entire community comes together and it’s a fun filled day. You’re not just working all day long, there are spurts of play and everybody takes a break and plays. I’m just so excited.”

Benjamin said it is important for those interested in volunteering to help build the playground on July 19 to pre-register by calling the Selma City Council office at 874-1234.

The group is also looking for 40 volunteers who can help prepare the site and dig ground to prepare for the build on July 17, as well as sponsors, whose logos will be placed on T-shirts, and 1,500 bottles of water for volunteers. Those interested can call Benjamin at 349-5389.

Registration for build day begins at 7:45 a.m. at Concordia College—Alabama, and Benjamin said she hoped all those in the community would engage one another about the project on social media, using the hashtag #kaboomselma and visiting the build day Facebook page.