More than 250 volunteers from Delta and Angels Reach Academy came together on April 29 to build Delta's first KaBOOM! playground in Miami — the airline's 22nd playground overall since beginning the partnership with KaBOOM! in 2013. In addition to many South Florida-based employees, attendees of the Delta Global Sales Conference held in Miami were also able to volunteer for the build.
The new playground will offer a safe and accessible place to play for the students of Angels Reach Academy, a school for gifted and special needs students from pre-K through 12th grade as well as kids in the local community of Hialeah Gardens.
"Angels Reach began 14 years ago based on the needs of one of my own children, who was diagnosed with autism," said Dorinda "Dory" Luzardo, Founder of Angels Reach Academy. "It has had as much success as my own child — my daughter is thriving, as is Angels Reach. We will never forget our friends at Delta and the commitment to the community you displayed today. You all have a special place in my heart."
Angels Reach Principal LisBeth Coto also commented, "There are no words to describe how we feel and how grateful we are to KaBOOM! and the amazing Delta team who gave up their Sunday to make a difference in the lives of our students at Angels Reach Academy."
As a child, Fort Lauderdale ACS agent Ray Cardentey, played indoor basketball at the gym of a school that once stood where Angels Reach stands today.
"Kids love to play outside, and I wish we had something like this when I was growing up in this area," Ray said.
The playground was completed in just six hours and included a multi-dimensional play structure with a rock wall, slides, climbing bars, and a train component. In addition to the playground, volunteers built benches, an arbor set, a sandbox and painted colorful sidewalk games.
"It was a fantastic day that will certainly be remembered. For many of us the first — and for sure not to be the last — KaBOOM! playground build," said Luciano Macagno, Delta's Managing Director — Latin America and Caribbean. "Dory and the Angels Reach community were very grateful, and I can't wait to get back there and see the kids playing on our creation that they helped design during Design Day back in February."
At the ribbon cutting, the Angels Reach Founder and Principal were surprised with a check for $10,000 from Delta presented by Delta leaders. The donation will assist Angels Reach with long-term maintenance of the playground and support the programs the school provides.
"At Delta, it is core to our culture to give back to the communities where we live, work and serve," said Tad Hutcheson, Managing Director — Community Engagement. "What better way to give back to the Miami community than to have our employees come in and roll up their sleeves and build a playground for the students of Angels Reach Academy and the community of Hialeah Gardens."
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play.
This year Delta will complete six KaBOOM! playgrounds. A playground in Los Angeles was completed in February and later this year there will be builds in Atlanta, New York, Salt Lake City, and Washington, DC. For information on KaBOOM! builds and how you can get involved, visit the Force for Global Good page on Deltanet.