Carrie Underwood went to work alongside hundreds of volunteers on October 14 as her foundation, Checotah Animal, Town, and School Foundation (C.A.T.S.) and KaBOOM! built a new playground in one day at Marshall Elementary School in Carrie’s hometown of Checotah, Oklahoma. Carrie and volunteers built the playground in less than eight hours.
The C.A.T.S. Foundation was created by Carrie in 2009 as a way for her to give back to her hometown. Since its beginning, C.A.T.S. Foundation has contributed to the local community in several ways, such as donating $117,000 in instruments to the school’s music program with ACM Lifting Lives, rebuilding the local animal shelter and making contributions to other local groups in need.
“We had the most amazing day putting together something truly special for the kids – and the community,” Carrie said. “I’m so proud that so many volunteered their time to be here today.”
Carrie helped paint a mural, planted vegetation and assembled several parts of the playground, including a Horse Spring Rider and a Tree House Barrier. Volunteers mixed and moved more than 12,000 pound of concrete and moved 43,730 square feet of safety surface by hand, enough to cover nearly 10 NBA-sized basketball courts. The new 2,500 square-foot playground includes equipment for children of all ages, including a spiral slide, a tree house climber and a tire swing.
“On behalf of the Marshall Elementary students and staff, I would like to thank Carrie Underwood for her generous donation to KaBOOM!, which made this playground project possible,” Jann Ledbetter, Marshall Elementary Principal, said. “It is particularly special for us because this was Carrie’s elementary school. At Marshall we believe that play is of the utmost importance in the physical, mental and social development of young children. We are incredibly grateful to the C.A.T.S. Foundation, KaBOOM!, and community and parent volunteers who have come together in making our dream playground a reality. Together we have positively affected our current and future student’s lives for the better.”
“We’re thrilled that C.A.T.S. Foundation and KaBOOM! share the same commitment of fighting the play deficit among children by bringing communities together to build playgrounds,” Darell Hammond, KaBOOM! Founder and CEO, said. “Thanks to Carrie’s C.A.T.S. Foundation, children in Checotah now have a terrific new playground and KaBOOM! moved one step closer to our vision of a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.”
KaBOOM! is a national non-profit organization dedicated to saving play. This playground is one of more than 150 KaBOOM! will build across the country in 2011 in an effort to provide a place to play within walking distance of every child in America.
Planning for the playground began at a Design Day event in August when local children and community leaders met with representatives from the C.A.T.S. Foundation and KaBOOM! to design their dream playground. The children’s drawings of their ideal playgrounds were used to create the final playground design.