PATERSON, NJ - Children at Paterson Public School No. 5 received new playground thanks to the efforts of more than 200 volunteers from the healthcare company Roche, the New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC), Paterson’s Public School District, and the non-profit group KaBOOM!.
In less than eight hours, the child-designed playground was built from scratch by the volunteers. The task entailed moving 58,320 square feet of safety surfacing, as well as more than 10,000 pounds of concrete by hand during the day.
The new playground provides the 1,300-plus students enrolled at School No. 5 as well as children living in the neighborhood with a safe place to play. As a result of this joint community effort, an extension of Paterson Public Schools’ Full Service Community Schools Initiative, the new playground will serve thousands of children in Paterson for years to come, officials said.
Planning for the playground began at a Design Day event held in March when local children and community leaders met with organizers from KaBOOM!, Roche and NJCDC to design their dream playground. The children's drawings were then used to create the final playground design.
“This was a great opportunity to partner with local organizations and have an immediate impact in our local community,” said Patricia Hughes, Director, Corporate Relations and Contributions at Roche. “Also, this is a great opportunity for our employees, as they find working on the project like this as not only very rewarding but also fun. We feel privileged to be able to transform Paterson Public School #5’s asphalt lot into a modern, safe playground.”
“Thanks to our partnership with NJCDC, and the additional support from organizations such as Roche and KaBOOM!, our District’s Full Service Community Schools Initiative has gained momentum at record speed,” said Dr. Donnie Evans, the school district's state-appointed Superintendent.
“One of our top priorities has been to increase family and community engagement by offering essential community services on school campuses,'' Evans said. "We were extremely pleased to open our first community school at PS#5 where we now offer more rigorous extended-day programs for our students as well as adult education classes. Additionally, we are developing a School Based Health Services Clinic that will be available to all residents of the PS #5 community.”
“This innovative project illustrates just how powerful strategic partnerships can be,” said NJCDC Founder and CEO Bob Guarasci. “When strong anchor companies like Roche work in tandem with both public and non-profit entities in the interests of children, education, and sustainable revitalization, extraordinary things can happen—even in just one day!”
Because of the generosity of Roche and New Jersey Community Development Corporation, the children served by Paterson Public School No. 5 and surrounding community now have a 3,600-square foot playground to enjoy.
Here's background information on the groups involved in the project:
Paterson Public Schools
The Paterson Public School District is a diverse urban school district located in northern New Jersey. As the third largest school district in New Jersey, the district enrolls 28,400 students in 54 schools to accommodate students in Pre-kindergarten through grade 12. The school district’s strategic plan focuses on four priorities: Effective Academic Programs; Safe, Caring & Orderly Schools; Family & Community Engagement; and Efficient & Responsive Operations. For more information, visit www.paterson.k12.nj.us.
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche’s personalized healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2010, Roche had over 80,000 employees worldwide and invested over 9 billion Swiss francs ($8.7B US) in R&D. The Group posted sales of 47.5 billion Swiss francs ($45.6B US). Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information: www.roche.com or www.roche-nutley.com.
New Jersey Community Development Corporation
New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) is a private, non-profit community development and social service agency founded in 1994 with a mission of creating opportunities to transform lives in and around the city of Paterson. Our core work and organizational focus is on neighborhood revitalization, positive youth development, education, affordable and supportive housing, the preservation of the Great Falls Historic District, and direct public-policy innovation. With a staff of over 120, we offer a myriad of programs and services designed to create opportunities to transform the lives of families, teens, children and people with disabilities. For more information visit: www.njcdc.org
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! 15 years ago 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 85,000 places to play, built almost 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 Chicagoand San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.