The design process began in September when the children of the school were asked to put their dream playgrounds down on paper. Their dreams quickly became a reality when KaBOOM took their drawings and created a unique playground based on their ideas. From the colors, to the equipment, the final side projects and the murals, the playground was created based on the needs of the school and the dreams of the children. The equipment that was previously on the site was over 30 years old and was torn down a few weeks ago to make way for the new state of the art play structure. The children were no longer permitted to use most of the old equipment due to the repair that was needed.
Over 1,000 children ranging in age from 5-12 years old will utilize this playground year round. Members of the community pitched in by not only volunteering their time but also donating equipment, food and supplies for the build day. By working together, there is a great sense of pride and accomplishment that will greatly enhance the relationship between the school and the community.
In addition to the playground, other projects were also built and installed during the build day. Those projects included numerous benches and murals, greening and planting new flowers, as well as recycling bins – a first for the elementary school which has been accompanied by a program to teach the children the importance of recycling.
This funding enabled the mobilization of hundreds of volunteers through the governments United We Serve website for the Camden Community lot stabilization program they named GreenUP, which cleaned and greened more than 81 lots (141,000 square feet of vacant land). The final phase of the GreenUP program had volunteers planting shrubs and more than 50 trees in the Lanning Square neighborhood on October 19th, 2009.
This first commitment to Camden’s neighborhoods preceded Jon Bon Jovi’s announcement that the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation will invest in affordable housing projects in Camden with two long time community cornerstones,** St. Joseph Carpenter Society and **Heart of Camden. Both of these organizations have been hard at work for many years improving the housing stock in Camden and also offering many necessary supportive services to assure success in homeownership.
Photograph: Pilar Hogan from St. Joseph Carpenter Society, Helene Pierson from Heart of Camden, and Jon Bon Jovi
Through an extensive exploration with residents of the community a human capital plan was developed to accompany the redevelopment plan. The Cooper Lanning community named “Community Stabilization” – the vacant land stabilization, community gardens, improved housing stock, and the creation of affordable housing – as a priority. We are pleased to join Camden residents and participate in both the lot greening and the development of affordable housing.
**Photograph At Top of Story: Residents and Community Organizers Yolanda, Keith, and Sheila with Jon Bon Jovi*
To read the Gloucester County Times story about this event, please click HERE
To read the Catholic Star Herald’s story about this event, please click HERE
We are happy to announce that international supporters may now contribute online! Our donation pages can now accept credit cards from anywhere in the world. Thank you to everyone for your patience while this development was made. Thank you to our online donation partner, Piryx, for making this possible!
Secretary Shaun Donovan of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, executive director of the United Nations Human Settlement Programme, UN-HABITAT, co-hosted the program which was intended to help promote affordable housing and sustainable urban development. The program included a video message from President Obama among the speakers.
According to the United Nations, more than 100 million people in the world today are homeless. Millions more face a severe housing problem living without adequate sanitation, with irregular or no electricity supply and without adequate security.
Worldwide, more than 2 million housing units per year are needed for the next 50 years to solve the present worldwide housing crisis. With our global population expanding, however, at the end of those 50 years, there would still be a need for another 1 billion houses.
Raising awareness and advocating for change are the first steps toward transforming systems that perpetuate the global plague of poverty housing. World Habitat Day serves as an important reminder that everyone must unite to ensure that everyone has a safe, decent place to call home.
Jon Bon Jovi’s comments about the work of the JBJ Soul Foundation and our work in the communities across the country was punctuated by a call to action. He encouraged all to become part of “The Power of WE” and to get involved, at any level, in revitalizing their communities.
CLICK HERE to read a copy of Jon Bon Jovi’s speech from this event
<img src="http://wordpress.jonbonjovisoulfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/imported/editorial-photos/1254933698.45289.UNWHDHonoreephoto-200x150.jpg" title="UN WHD Honoree photo" alt="UN WHD Honoree photo" />