The Burckhalter Elementary School playground in East Oakland just got a free makeover.
Volunteers from Burckhalter Elementary School, CarMax and KABOOM! on Thursday installed a kid-designed playground to ensure students have a safe, inclusive place to play. In addition, CarMax presented the school with a check for $10,000.
“CarMax is community-driven and excited to team up with KABOOM! and the Oakland Unified School District,” said spokesperson Jason Bazan. “The team came together quickly and everyone worked together creatively and had a lot of fun.”
The group of more than 120 people worked away for the past two days as a new blue and yellow play structure was added, basketball courts were painted and planter boxes were built to spruce up the playground, which hadn’t been updated in years.
Kids and adults shot hoops afterward and checked out the improvements.
“This is what love and action looks like for students, families and community of Burckhalter,” longtime principal Carin Geathers said.
During the past several weeks, the old play structure was torn out to make room for the new one. Local residents led the creation of the playground, from design to installation. In May, Burckhalter students shared drawings of their dream play spaces with project organizers and watched Thursday as they came to fruition.
“Having access to a safe and fun community space in East Oakland defines play equity, or equal access for all kids to play regardless of race, ability level, gender, and ZIP code. And isn’t that what all students deserve?” Geathers asked.
Community school manager Demetra Mack became emotional and wiped away a tear as volunteers were thanked at the end of the day after having lunch on site.
“It was a great turnout, it’s been really fun and a lot of high energy today,” Derrick Dixon of KABOOM! said.
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