New playground offers unique opportunities for kids

A playground is more than a playground. It’s a place where children can expand their brains, make friends, and build muscle. Play is central to a child’s ability to grow into a productive adult.

Now, nearly 400 kids from David & Margaret Youth and Family will have the opportunity to get the balanced and active play they need to thrive thanks to the generosity and heavy lifting of more than 200 people who transformed an empty lot into a kid-designed play space in less than eight hours on May 28.

“For many years, we have wanted to have a playground where the youth we work with would have regular and easy access and where they could creatively play in a more open environment,” Charles Rich, executive director, David & Margaret Youth and Family Services said in press release. “Up until this amazing opportunity we received from KaBOOM! and Disney, it has been cost prohibitive. We can’t say enough about how excited our students and clients were to be a part of building this playground for them.”

The new playground offers play structures, shaded seating areas, picnic benches, and an outdoor classroom. The design is based on children’s drawings created at a special event in March with their ideas incorporated into the final playground design.

The playground and related structures were organized by KaBoom!, funded by The Walt Disney Company, and constructed by volunteers from David & Margaret, The Walt Disney Company, Club Penguin, and the La Verne community.

“Play is central to a child’s ability to grow into a healthy and productive adult,” said Kevin Callahan, vice president of community and engagement, Corporate Citizenship at Disney. “Disney is proud to join KaBOOM!  and accelerate efforts that move every child to play every day—at home, in school, and in the community. Together, we hope to make places to play more accessible, and inspire kids and families to stay active.”

David & Margaret Youth and Family Services serves more than 1,000 clients annually through a comprehensive range of services, including a residentially-based program for adolescent girls, shelter care for adolescent girls, a foster family agency, adoption assistance, mental health services, treatment for learning disabilities, transitional living programs, school- and community-based education and mentoring programs. Additionally, it has a chemical dependency program that is certified by the State of California for residents who are recovering from substance abuse.  Joan Macy School, a specialized nonpublic on-grounds school, serves special education students in grades 1-12 from D&M, as well as students referred from surrounding school districts.     

For more information about their services, visit

Angela Bailey


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