National Park Service and the City of Richmond Named Finalist in KaBOOM!

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Date: July 27, 2016
Contact: Kieron Slaughter

Play Everywhere Challenge, a $1 million national competition that will awardoutside-the-box ideas to make play easy, available, and fun for kids and families in cities across the United States. The Challenge is hosted by KaBOOM!—a national non-profit dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all children, particularly those growing up in poverty in America.

National Park Service Urban Fellow, Kieron Slaughter and local partners created an innovative plan to create a “living preview” of a cycle track and interactive fitness bus stop as part of the future Richmond Wellness Trail. The Richmond Wellness Trail is a health themed urban fitness biking and walking trail connecting downtown Richmond to the Rosie the Riveter / WWII Home Front National Historical Park on the Richmond waterfront. The Richmond Wellness Trail living preview was selected as a finalist out of a pool of more than 1,000 applications nationwide. Winners will be announced in early fall, 2016.

The Play Everywhere Challenge, developed in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Target, Playworld, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Endowment for the Arts, attracted an outpouring of creative ideas to spark kids’ imaginations and get their bodies moving. Slaughter’s idea came from a passion for getting kids more involved in physical fitness, healthy lifestyle choices and urban design. “The idea for the Richmond Wellness Trail was created through a collaborative process of engagement with local stakeholders, the City of Richmond and the goals of the National Park Service’s Urban Agenda and Park Prescription initiatives” said Kieron Slaughter.

“We were astonished at the number and quality of the applications we received,” said James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!. “To us, it shows a huge, untapped potential to reimagine cities with kids in mind, and boost their opportunity to get the play they need to thrive. And when kids thrive, cities thrive.”

Kids need play to grow up healthy, resilient and ready for life. Research shows play is vital to healthy brain development and is pivotal to how kids learn problem-solving, conflict resolution and creativity—the skills they need to succeed as adults. Yet today, many kids, especially those growing up in poverty, are missing out on play because of families’ time pressures, the lure of screens, and a lack of safe places to go. Meanwhile, evidence shows missing out on the chance to play puts kids at risk for challenges ranging from obesity to anxiety to trouble adjusting in school.


“We’re thrilled at the possibility that Richmond’s kids could win this fantastic new opportunity to learn and develop from play,” said Kieron Slaughter. “If we’re selected as a winner, we hope it will be just the beginning of a larger effort to make play and exercise a way of life for kids and families in our community.


To learn more about the National Park Service Urban Fellow’s ideas for making play happen everywhere in Richmond, CA contact Kieron Slaughter at

To learn more about the project visit

To learn more about the Play Everywhere Challenge, including a gallery of ideas for what Play Everywhere could look like across the U.S. please visit


Last updated: July 28, 2016

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