Kaboom! Building a Playground in under 6 hours

Kaboom! is a national non-profit whose goal is to provide a safe place to play for every child in America. For the last few years, Adobe has been partnering with Kaboom! to help build playgrounds in the Bay Area. And on Thursday, I was privileged enough to be one of the volunteers helping to build a playground at Cesar Chavez school!

Cesar Chavez school creed:

I believe in myself and my ability.
I will do my best today.
For this day will not come again.
I will listen.
I will think.
I will be me and act respectfully.
I will read.
I will write.
I will take another step towards my destiny.
I will soar like a proud eagle
with one purpose in mind,
to do my very best.
For this day will not come again!

Previously, the kids at Cesar Chavez would have to walk for 20 minutes to reach a playground at a neighbouring school where they could play and hold phys ed classes. That there is now a playground on their grounds gives them back 30 minutes of instructional time every day.

We (Adobe and SAP volunteers) arrived on site at 8am to a very cheerful atmosphere with breakfast (homemade tamales!) and loud, upbeat music. We got started right away, getting organized into teams (based on which sticker you had on your name tag). Some teams were painting, some were building benches and picnic tables, some were mixing concrete, moving mulch, or building play structures. I was on the team that built a slide and two swing sets.

BEFORE
BEFORE – about 9am. The holes were thankfully pre-dug for us by another group of volunteers the day before.
My team for the day!
My team for the day!
So. much. bubble wrap.
So. much. bubble wrap.

Not only were there over 100 volunteers from Adobe and SAP, there were also volunteers from the community of East Palo Alto who chipped in to provide food, drinks, and helping hands.

Mid-way...around 11am.
Mid-way…around 11am.
Lunchtime! Lunch was provided by the community, and the food was AMAZING.
Lunchtime! Lunch was provided by the community, and the food was AMAZING.
Delicious posole, beans & rice, and some sort of tortilla stuffed with meat & rice & beans.
Delicious posole, beans & rice, and some sort of tortilla stuffed with meat & rice & beans.
Painting a mural.
Painting a mural.
Pouring cement into pre-dug holes.
Pouring cement into pre-dug holes.
Mixing 80lb bags of cement.
Mixing 80lb bags of cement.
Painting checkerboards for the picnic tables.
Painting checkerboards for the picnic tables.

While I always feel inspired and rewarded when volunteering, this experience was really special because the kids at the school were just so darned sweet. They kept sneaking out of class to come say thank you and wave at the volunteers, the younger ones couldn’t seem to believe that the playground was for them (they kept asking: who is that for? is that ours?), and one of my teammates was even asked if we were being paid to do this (she said “I’m being paid in my heart”).

After shot - at 2:30pm. Totally amazing that this was finished in less than 6 hours!
Done! – at 2:30pm. Totally amazing that this was finished in less than 6 hours!

I hope to be able to volunteer with Kaboom! again next year, and I’m so thankful that Adobe supports initiatives like these and really encourages their employees to give back to the community. Thanks, Adobe and Kaboom!

Click here for more photos (not taken by me).

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