Abbott House Annual Report FY19 - Page 15



Helping
Kids
Heal
Through
the
Power of
Play
The 2,088 hours
of work put in by
our Playground
Volunteers
represents
$63,015.84.
worth of time!
Thank you!
*NYS “pay” rate for
volunteers is currently
$30.18/hour
Playgrounds are magical places where kids embark on adventures, make new
friends, learn to share, and interact with other children. Playtime is also a proven way
to foster creativity and encourage emotional and physical health- all while having
fun!
Up until last June, many of the children at Abbott House did not have access to
a purposeful, innovative play space, because our existing playground structure
was quite old and in need of repair. Having such a space is an important tool for
all children suffering from deep trauma and can significantly aid in their healing
process. In fact, playtime can help kids respond positively to stress and strengthen
their ability to grow and thrive.
In June of 2019, thanks to a grant by KaBOOM! and funding partner Morgan
Stanley, Abbott House was given an incredible opportunity to bring together our
entire community and build a brand new, state-of-the-art, kid-designed (and kidapproved!) playground on our Irvington campus!
After two labor-intensive months of planning and prepping the site, an amazing
transformation was set to begin. The campus was buzzing with excitement as
Abbott House welcomed more than 250 volunteers including employees of Morgan
Stanley, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, USI, and The Workmen’s Circle along with so
many donors, friends, neighbors and local businesses with one goal in mind – give
the kids at Abbott House a safe place where they can just be kids, free of worry and
anxiety.
Together, you rolled up your sleeves and got to work. Some of you shoveled mulch
and mixed concrete, while others unloaded and assembled playground equipment.
There were also groups in charge of food, snacks and water to keep everyone
nourished and hydrated during record-high temperatures. There was no shortage
of snacks, smiles or community spirit that day – and in just six hours, the new
playground was completed.
The children of Abbott House love their new space, especially the “little, little ones,”
as described by Deborah Garrigo, Assistant Director of the Transitional Resources
for Children (TRC) Program. “Many of the immigrant children in our program have
never experienced a playground until their arrival at Abbott House, and so, for them,
the concept has been very interesting and well received,” said Garrigo. Since the
playground’s official opening last summer, many of the children can be seen running
down the grassy hill during their lunch break. Some of the younger children jump
onto the see saw, while others simply find a comfortable spot on the grass and
watch their friends slide and climb and explore their imaginations. There is never a
shortage of smiles on the playground.
For one 11 year-old child from Honduras, with Down Syndrome, the playground was
a transformational experience. At the time she came to the TRC Program, Juanita
struggled with her behavior, leaving her caregivers with a challenge to find ways to
redirect her emotions and instill in her a sense of calmness. The playground was not
only a safe space where she was able to relax, it also was a place she was able to
become the best version of herself – and she began to look forward to it every day.
Juanita’s transformation, reminds us of the incredible resilience of children, and that
even in the face of tremendous challenge, there is tremendous hope. Her story is a
testament to the power of play and how kids can heal and find hope while having
fun.
Thank you for understanding the value of play and what it can mean to a child
recovering from trauma. You are a community full of heart!
Abbott House Annual Report FY2019
Page 9
Abbott House Annual Report FY2019
Page 10

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