FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- JetBlue Airways (Nasdaq: JBLU) today is proud to announce a partnership with Kathleen C. (KC) Wright Leadership Academy and KaBOOM!, the national non-profit dedicated to saving play. The kid friendly airline has partnered with KaBOOM! to build the first-ever playground at K.C. Wright Leadership Academy located in Tamarac, FL, further highlighting the airline's commitment to Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding community. K.C. Wright Leadership Academy students did not previously have a playground to enjoy. As children discover the world through play, the new playground now provides more than 150 children in the local community with a safe location for recreation. Since 2005, JetBlue and long-standing partner KaBOOM! have worked together to create safe play spaces for children across JetBlue's communities and help fight the deficit of play for children in underserved neighborhoods.
The playground at K.C. Wright Leadership Academy was truly designed for students by students. The new playground's blueprint is based on drawings created by children from the school who participated in a Design Day event in September. The students have also decided to "play it forward" with a penny wars campaign to raise funds to donate to a future playground build in another community in southern Florida. K.C. Wright Leadership Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school.
" Fort Lauderdale was JetBlue's first destination, so we have a strong connection to the city and surrounding communities. We're really excited to work with our longtime partner KaBOOM! and the Florida Panthers organization to provide the first playground for students at K.C. Wright Leadership Academy," said JetBlue's Chief Operating Officer Rob Maruster. "Play is such an important part of a child's development. This playground will serve as a source of recreation and a safe place to play for the entire Tamarac community."More than 200 volunteers from JetBlue, the Florida Panthers, K.C. Wright Leadership Academy, organizers from KaBOOM! and residents of the Tamarac worked side by side to build the new playground at K.C. Wright Leadership Academy. Today's kids spend less time playing outside than any previous generation in part because only one in five children live within walking distance of a park or playground. This play deficit is having profound consequences for kids physically, socially and cognitively. Children need a place to play every day in order to be active and healthy. "KaBOOM! is thrilled to continue our tremendous work with our National Partner, JetBlue," said KaBOOM! Founder and CEO Darell Hammond. "Every child deserves to have a great place to play and we made that possible for children at K.C. Wright Leadership Academy, while bringing KaBOOM! one step closer to our vision of a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America." "Our entire school community is honored to have been chosen by KaBOOM! for this playground build. Our teachers, administration, staff, and parents at Kathleen C. Wright Leadership Academy have worked collaboratively with our partners to ensure a successful build for our deserving students. In keeping with our mission, we know that this playground will have a profound impact on our students both inside and outside the classroom by creating positive and healthy experiences for them through fun, physical activity that will help to increase their concentration and focus at school," said Kathleen C. Wright Leadership Academy Assistant Principal, Donald G. Nicolas. "In addition, the benefits of play also encourage high academic achievement which is the expectation for our students. We anticipate continuing this relationship with JetBlue and the Florida Panthers that has been forged through the building of this play space. This playground will make a tremendous impact on our school campus and our neighboring community for years to come." JetBlue and KaBOOM! have worked together over the last seven years to create play spaces for children. This partnership has successfully engaged more than 3,600 volunteers to move 15 tractor trailers full of mulch and build 15 playgrounds, which now benefit more than 10,000 children. The playground at K.C. Wright Leadership Academy marks the 16 th playground build, four in Florida, through the collaboration. This is also JetBlue's fifth build in 2012 ( Long Beach, CA; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Boston, MA: San Francisco, CA; and Fort Lauderdale, FL). JetBlue Airways is a KaBOOM! National Partner, a group of organizations providing long-term guidance and support to KaBOOM! and its mission. About K.C. Wright Leadership Academy Kathleen C. Wright Schools Inc. was founded in 2009 in memory of and as a legacy to the late Dr. Kathleen C. Wright. After teaching at Dillard High School for 16 years, she became the first Black person elected to serve on the School Board of County and also the first Black person to serve on any school board in the State of Florida. As a board member, Dr. Wright served two, four-year terms (1974-1982) and was a strong advocate of school integration and affirmative action. She was dedicated to providing a quality education to all of Broward County's children. Both the Broward County Public Schools Administration Building and its street location are named in her honor. In November 2010, Broward County Public Schools approved K.C. Wright Schools Inc.'s first charter application, Kathleen C. Wright Leadership Academy (KCWLA), to serve children in grades Kindergarten through 8th Grade. We are a college preparatory school focused on providing the best for our students including opportunities for leadership training and character building. About the Florida Panthers Sunrise Sports & Entertainment is the premier company of its kind in South Florida. Florida Panthers Social Media is powered by Ford - follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Home to the Florida Panthers Hockey Club and internationally recognized concerts and events, the Broward County-owned BB&T Center is one of the top ranked venues of its kind in the world. About KaBOOM! 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 90,000 places to play, built more than 2,200 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!: A Movement to Save Play , now out in paperback. 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. About JetBlue Corporate Social Responsibility At JetBlue Airways, our commitment to corporate social responsibility goes beyond raising cause awareness. We are dedicated to developing impactful charitable partnerships, supporting and aligning ourselves with the communities in the cities we serve, and creating significant volunteer experiences for our crewmembers. Our focus is to create programs and opportunities and fully engage our resources to connect with our communities within the areas of Youth & Education, Community, and the Environment. In addition, we align our efforts to reflect the diverse interests and core values of our business by striving to enrich the lives of others. Moving forward, we will sustain JetBlue's charitable efforts through continuous support and unique programs that help promote positive social and environmental change.
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