Dr Pepper Snapple Group and national non-profit KaBOOM! Has awarded The Institute for Disability Studies at The University of Southern Mississippi a $9,000 Let’s Play Community Construction Grant to use toward the purchase of an Imagination Playground in a Cart™ play system.
The grant is part of Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide. In 2011, as part of Let’s Play, Dr Pepper Snapple Group made a $15 million, three-year commitment to KaBOOM!, the national non-profit saving play by ensuring there is a great place to play within walking distance of every child. Together through Let’s Play, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM! plans to build or fix up 2,000 playgrounds, benefiting an estimated five million children across North America.
“The Institute for Disability Studies is pleased to accept this award for all of the children served through the Institute including typically developing children, children with manifest disabilities and those at high-risk for a disability,” said Dr. Jane Siders, Co-Director of the Institute. Dr Pepper and Snapple are distributed in the Gulf Park area by Gulfport Coca Cola. “We hope that the community will join us in thanking Dr Pepper Snapple and KaBoom for this wonderful opportunity.”
According to Dr. Alicia Westbrook, who will oversee training on the use of the Imagination Playground, Playground in a Cart will provide materials to stimulate cognition, social skills and motor development in pre-school children and will be used to ensure that all children are full participants in learning through play.
The Imagination Playground Play System will be housed at the Technology Learning Center (TLC) at the Southern Miss Long Beach campus. Materials will be used in play groups and parent and teacher training sessions held at TLC. The equipment will also be used at the Early Connections Learning Center, a Pre-K program operated jointly by The University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies and the Lamar County School System.
Unstructured, child-directed play has been proven to help kids develop physically, socially and cognitively, yet today’s kids have less time and fewer opportunities to play than any previous generation. Imagination Playground in a Cart™ is a breakthrough playspace concept designed by architect David Rockwell to encourage child-directed, unstructured free play. With reconfigurable loose parts, Imagination Playground in a Cart™ allows children to constantly change their environment and design their own course of play. Giant foam blocks, mats, wagons, fabric and crates overflow with creative potential for children to play, dream, build and explore endless possibilities.
Through Let’s Play grants and projects in 2011, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM! built or improved 528 playgrounds, benefitting an estimated 1.3 million children during the lifetime of the playgrounds. People are encouraged to visit Let’s Play at www.LetsPlay.com to join the conversation and learn how to apply for the various available grants to make their communities more active and playful.
A grand opening will be held at the Technology Learning Center on the Southern Miss Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach on Friday July 11th from 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Children with and without special needs ages three to five years and their parents or teachers are invited to attend and engage in the Blastoff for Summer imagination play session. Contact Dr. Alicia Westbrook at 601-266-6425 to RSVP if you plan to bring five or more children.
About The Institute for Disability Studies
The Institute is one of 68 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) across the United States and its territories funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Developmental Disabilities. The mission of the Institute is to positively affect the lives of Mississippi citizens with developmental and other disabilities and their families across the life span and to work toward increasing their independence, productivity and participation in their communities. Inclusive early intervention services are a priority of the Institute. Children with and without disabilities are provided developmentally appropriate play-based learning activities through play groups and Pre-K classrooms. Training and technical assistance for inclusive child care is provided state-wide.
About Dr Pepper Snapple Group
Dr Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS) is a leading producer of flavored beverages in North America and the Caribbean. Our success is fueled by more than 50 brands that are synonymous with refreshment, fun and flavor. We have 6 of the top 10 non-cola soft drinks, and 11 of our 14 leading brands are No. 1 in their flavor categories. In addition to our flagship Dr Pepper and Snapple brands, our portfolio includes 7UP, A&W, Canada Dry, Clamato, Crush, Hawaiian Punch, Peñafiel, Mott's, Mr & Mrs T mixers, Rose's, Schweppes, Squirt and Sunkist Soda. To learn more about our iconic brands and Plano, Texas-based company, please visit DrPepperSnapple.com. For our latest news and updates, follow us at Facebook.com/DrPepperSnapple or Twitter.com/DrPepperSnapple.
About Let’s Play
Let’s Play is a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS) to get kids and families active nationwide. The first Let’s Play initiative is a $15 million, three-year commitment to KaBOOM!, the national non-profit that’s saving play. Together, through Let’s Play, DPS and KaBOOM! will build or fix up 2,000 playgrounds by the end of 2013, benefiting an estimated five million children across North America. For more information, visit LetsPlay.com or Facebook.com/LetsPlay.
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! in 1996 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 89,000 places to play, built more than 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 Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.