By Lauren Nguyen from St. Mary’s Dominican High School
Mentored by Ms. Caitlin Piper
Photos by Stephanie Mayer, St. Mary’s Dominican High School
They SHOOT, SCORE, and SHOVEL!! The NBA Cares Foundation has once again partnered with KaBOOM! in a project held in New Orleans, Louisiana. On Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, over 500 volunteers, including NBA All Star players, present and past, and others, worked toward constructing an 18,000 square foot school play-space built to accommodate all of the students at William Hart Elementary School.
“After all that’s happened in this city with Hurricane Katrina and the recent tornados, it’s amazing that we could all come out here to help these kids as much as we can,” said Detlef Schrempf, a retired NBA All-Star.
Throughout the day, volunteers worked on a variety of play areas for the school. Students painted a map of the U.S.A. on the concrete, NBA All-Stars and legends refurbished the basketball court, and members of the U.S. National and Coast guard assembled the jungle gym. Even under unexpected showers, volunteers busily painted, hammered, and worked until the playground was complete.
The incredible sight of 500 volunteers working for the betterment of the school community motivates the NBA Cares Foundation to continue organizing events such as the All-Star Day of Service. The dedication the NBA has toward service is a longstanding tradition that began in New Orleans in 2008, after Hurricane Katrina. Every All-Star weekend, NBA players and legends embrace the act of service by coming together and working on a new project.
“When we came back to New Orleans there was a notion that we should do more than have an All-Star game and the usual basketball festivities, and do something everlasting in the community,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “So it began with the day of service and it’s a tradition that has continued in every All-Star city.”
The NBA Cares Foundation’s partner, KaBOOM!, is a national nonprofit organization that helps communities build playgrounds for children. They gather funds from different foundations, and build play spaces in areas across the country. This year’s NBA All-Star Day of service brings their total constructions to 2,890 playgrounds.
The impact the project has on the students is one that was clearly seen by the looks on the students’ faces. While painting the states on the map, fifth grader Melanie said,” I was just having fun painting with everyone and I’m so excited to see the finished playground and slide with my friends.”