Building a playground – and a healthier community – in one day

A slide and swings to assemble,
a sandbox and benches to construct,
a fence and murals to paint,  
2,000 lbs of cement to mix,
...and the largest pile of mulch I have ever seen!

This was the view of the North Light Community Center in Philadelphia when I arrived to build a playground with 100 of my colleagues from top-performing sales teams across the US. 

When I first heard that my teammates and I would be building a playground with other community volunteers and the nonprofit KaBOOM! as a reward for launching new treatment options for patients, I didn’t expect there to be that much actual “work.” That wasn't the case!

Here I am putting my painting skills to the test and thinking about all the children who would enjoy the bright, cheery colors for many years to come.

Here I am putting my painting skills to the test and thinking about all the children who would enjoy the bright, cheery colors for many years to come.

Our task was daunting, but we dove in. We worked in teams alongside community center staff and community volunteers. The staff shared how overjoyed the children were at the prospect of a new play area. One staffer guessed about 6,500 people walk through their doors each year for the play area, educational classes, food closet, and after school programs.

I was proud to help brighten the lives of so many children.  I have young children of my own and I know how important it is to have a safe area for them to run free, climb, and explore. This new playground will help kids get the active play they need to be healthy and to make new friends and memories. 

When we climbed back on the buses six hours later, I realized that we had done was more than just build a playground. We had helped build a healthier community.