Foresters, KaBOOM! and volunteers bring families together with new playground at Hemphill Elementary School

dsc02382BIRMINGHAM, AL, Oct. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – The Birmingham community was revitalized today thanks to a new playground built at Hemphill Elementary School. In less than eight hours, more than 200 volunteers from ForestersTM, Birmingham City Schools, United Way of Central Alabama, and organizers from non-profit KaBOOM! created the new play space, which will serve more than 18,000 children and their families in the local community for years to come.

“A community’s well-being starts with a child’s well-being,” said Tony Garcia, President and CEO, Foresters. “Playgrounds are important to communities, providing an open space where children can play safely. We believe that an investment in a playground is an investment in family well-being, and we are happy to provide the Birmingham community with a place that families can enjoy for years to come.”

The design for the new playground is based on drawings created by neighborhood children at a special Design Day event held in August when community members met with organizers from KaBOOM! and Foresters to design their dream playground. The drawings inspired the final playground design.

Since 2006, Foresters, an international financial services provider, has invested over $10 million with KaBOOM! to build almost 120 playgrounds across the US and Canada by the end of 2015. Over their 15 year lifespan, these playgrounds will provide more than 3 million children and their families with an opportunity to spend quality time together and enhance family well-being.

“We certainly know the value of partnerships,” said Craig Witherspoon, Superintendent of Birmingham City Schools. “When our community comes together and invests in our schools and our students, we know that the investment will yield a significant return for our community.”

“United Way’s involvement in the playground build stems from our role in the Walking School Bus program at Hemphill Elementary, said Drew Langloh, President and CEO of United Way of Central Alabama. “Partnering in the playground build is a natural pairing with our health initiative to create spaces for youth to be active.”

“It is such an honor to be a part of a project that will greatly benefit the children of District 6,” Councilor Sheila Tyson said. “This project is one that has been near and dear to my heart for some time now, and I am so happy to see it come to fruition.”

Another way Foresters advocates for family well-being is through its Tech Timeout™ challenge, which encourages families to take a pledge to turn off all electronic devices for an hour a day for one week and spend quality time together. For more details, visit

Foresters is a founding member of the KaBOOM! Leadership Circle – a group of organizations providing long-term guidance and support to KaBOOM! and its mission. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has been dedicated to the bold goal of ensuring that all children get the balance of active play they need to become healthy and successful adults because #playmatters.

Birmingham City Schools
The mission of Birmingham City Schools is to guide all students to achieve excellence in a safe, secure and nurturing environment.

Hemphill Elementary School
As part of the Birmingham City Schools, R. C. Hemphill Elementary School, is a first class progressive, innovative public school and the winner of the Title I Distinguished School Award embarked upon the task of defining its mission and vision by engaging collaboratively with stakeholders in a comprehensive, consensus building process that involved students, parent, community partners, support staff, teachers, and administrators. R.C. Hemphill Elementary School’s mission is to focus on teaching and learning in order to equip students with the tools to compete in a global world. By working collaboratively to provide an engaging, relevant and rigorous curriculum implemented by a dedicated staff, we work to create an environment that allows each child to develop to their maximum potential.

United Way of Central Alabama
United Way of Central Alabama, Inc. invests in over 80 health and human service programs and initiatives in Central Alabama and participates in collaborative networks to address issues in education, financial stability, health and access to services that provide solutions for the most important needs in the community. To donate visit To find or give help dial 2.1.1.

For 140 years, Foresters™, an international financial services provider, has fulfilled its purpose to enhance family well-being for its members and the communities where they live. A fraternal benefit society, Foresters offers quality life insurance and investment products, unique member benefits and inspiring community activities. Foresters shares its financial strength with more than one million members in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit, and

Foresters™ is the trade name and a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal benefit society, 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9; its subsidiaries are licensed to use this mark.

Tech Timeout and the Tech Timeout logo are trademarks of The Independent Order of Foresters.

KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, particularly those growing up in poverty in America. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,000 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers and served 7.4 million children. KaBOOM! creates great places to play, inspires communities to promote and support play, and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy lives and communities. To learn why #playmatters: visit or join the conversation at or

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