Building and Sustaining Community Capacity for Civic Engagement, Leadership and Advocacy
ISKME conducted an independent study of KaBOOM! on the community impact of building play spaces. The project looked at how community-build processes and sites are impacting children and their parents, the community organizations and funding organizations involved (community partnerships and corporate citizenship), and the larger communities within which the play spaces were situated.
Data collection consisted of pre-visit interviews, a two-day site visit to each of the ten selected sites and meetings with commuity and corporate partners, members of the planning committee, volunteers and team leaders for the community build day, as well as current parent, child, and teacher users. This also included a survey of playground impact on children, a partnership survey, observations and photo documentation of the playground itself, and a "windshield" survey of each community (which consisted of a 45-minute drive with one or more community members through the local neighborhood that the playground served).
Site visits and surveys revealed strong evidence of the expansion of play opportunties for low-income children, and the majority of parents and teachers survey believed that the playground had significantly impacted the physical development of children. The playground was also reported to build increased community pride, and had resulted in a decrease in vandalism and theft in the immediate area. The build process itself resulted in an increase in collaboration among diverse groups and organizations, and demonstrated the postive impact of community partner and funding partner matching and relationship building, as well as served as a successful model of civic engagement.