Supporting the communities we serve now, and into future years
Studies show that access to play builds skills that foster happier, healthier children who perform better in school.
So PG&E has launched the PG&E Playground program helping to build playgrounds in at-risk and underserved areas we serve. Partnering with KaBOOM!, a nationwide non-profit dedicated to saving play, and the dedicated community partners listed below, we are bringing play and its benefits to children who need it most.
Help build a playground in a single day
Each playground will be built in a single Saturday, all by volunteers. The KaBOOM! community-build model is designed to help a community not only build a playground, but strengthen existing coordination and resources, while acquiring the skills needed to undertake future community improvements.
The build days are much like an old-fashioned barn-raising, but with a playful twist. If you are interested in helping to build a playground for the children of your community, see the "volunteer" info for each site.
KaBOOM! is a national non-profit dedicated to saving play for America's children. Their mission is to create great playspaces through the participation and leadership of communities. Ultimately, they envision a place to play within walking distance of every child in America.
Find out more about KaBoom!
What We've Built
With many families in the economically challenged Roseland area living in high volume apartment complexes, options for outdoor play are limited. Access to play was further limited by the neighborhood’s known crime and gang activity. As a result, the nearly 20-year old school playground functioned as a well used part of the community. Slowly becoming unsafe, and with replacement parts no longer available, PG&E sponsored a new, safe playground for the community to enjoy.
On December 3, close to 300 volunteers- parents, partners, neighbors and PG&E employees arrived at Roseland Elementary to bring the new playground to life. Over the course of 6 hours, the community mixed more than 20,000 pounds of concrete and moved close to 125,000 square feet of safety surface- all by hand. These efforts created the foundation for swing sets, spiral slides and a rock wall. As the day came to a close, dozens of volunteers shouldered the final piece- a giant climbing dome- carrying it as a team in to place with a cheer.
"We aren't just building a playground. We’re building community" said Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, himself a graduate of Roseland.
We were proud to celebrate Roseland Elementary ‘s new playground with the following Community Partners:
Located in a portion of San Luis Obispo County laden experiencing financial hardship, the Oceano Boys & Girls Club facility has no playground for the children they serve. As one of the only non-profit groups serving area youth, a playground will help draw the wider community to the club's programs and events. PG&E is proud to recognize the Boys and Girls Club of South San Luis Obispo County's efforts, and to further them with the support for a playground.
On December 10, over 100 PG&E employees from across San Lous Obispo county arrived in Oceano. The event proved so popular that the small, urban site at the headquarters of the Boys & Girls Clubs of South San Luis Obispo County in Oceano quickly filled to capacity with 200 volunteers. Over the course of the day, the club's barren asphalt was transformed into an impressive playground complete with a rock-climbing wall and a twisty slide. The project also included shade structures, murals and an outdoor classroom. The work required mixing 18,000 pounds of concrete and moving 105 yards of mulch – all done by hand
The day culminated with a $73,000 ceremonial check from John Conway, a PG&E senior vice president and chief nuclear officer representing PG&E's support of the project.
"The bigger contribution is the turnout. This is a sea of blue here, and we’re really pleased to be able to help the community here in Oceano," said Conway of the many PG&E employees and others wearing the day's distinctive blue volunteer shirts.
We were proud to celebrate this new play space with the South San Luis Oblspo Boys and Girls Club.
El Dorado Park is a vibrant and ethnically diverse community currently experiencing some of the highest rates of poverty in Fresno. A majority of families live in multi-unit housing, and the nearest playground is nearly 2 miles away. As a result, play can become unsafe, with children finding makeshift alternatives, or encountering traffic in the area alleyways. Occupying shared grounds, the Boys & Girls Club and Wesley Methodist offer supervision and support for neighborhood children, but have no play space for them. PG&E's sponsorship of a new playground will serve more than 100 area children everyday.
On December 17 over 250 volunteers arrived to support the children of this community. Beyond co-recipients the Boys and Girls Club and Wesley Methodist Church, who share usage of the playground, volunteers or representatives from Fresno State University, the Fresno Region Foundation, and the El Dorado Park Economic Development Council were present. Over the course of 6 hours, an empty field was transformed into a formal playground- with double swing set, two slides, and playhouse. Additionally, a safety fence was installed along the adjacent alley. Working together, the community moved over 42,000 square feet of safety surface and mixed more than 16,500 pounds of concrete- all by hand.
Celebrating the day's achievements, Shawn Cooper, chief of staff for the office of the chairman at PG&E, presented a $73,000 ceremonial check, representative of PG&E's support of the project.
"Thank you for supporting these children. Thank you from me and on behalf of the Boys and Girls Club, but most of all from the kids," said Rico Guerrero, assistant executive director for the Boys and Girls Club of Fresno County.
We were proud to celebrate this new play space with the El Dorado Boys and Girls Club.
Eureka's Westside - home to the area's lowest income and most ethnically diverse residents - lost both its local school and community space when Jefferson Elementary closed in 2005. For over 70 years, the Jefferson playground served as a place for neighborhood children to play and families to meet. When the playground was locked and eventually removed, the community was left without a public place. In response, a group of concerned neighbors formed the Westside Community Improvement Association (WCIA) and began to plan and organize the abandoned school yard's renovation. Their vision is a re-opening of a public space that revitalizes the community and serves the needs of hundreds of neighborhood children. PG&E is proud to recognize the WCIA's efforts, and to further them with the support for a playground.
On July 14 more than 250 volunteers came to install swings and slides, to shovel and rake, to carry and haul.The group included PG&E employees as well as other volunteers from the California Conservation Corps, the Eureka Rescue Mission and the local chapter of the American Red Cross. The Eureka Fire Department brought its ladder truck to help complete the project.
“This playground was important first step towards reenergizing this neighborhood,” said Amanda Tutera, the program manager in PG&E’s community relations department who oversees the playground builds. “And this kind of event not only benefits the area for years to come, but everyone one here walks away knowing that they are personally capable of creating positive change.”
Under the Salvation Army, the E. Clair Raley Transitional Living Program provides families that have experienced homelessness and crisis with lodging, education and job skill training. The 34 unit complex provides a crucial bridge to employment and permanent housing. With only the parking lot serving as a playspace, PG&E sponsored a much needed playground at the facility.
On October 6, over 200 volunteers including PG&E employees and the families themselves, joined to create a playground from an empty lot. Based on the design of the children themselves, the group moved mulch and mixed concrete, installed slides and swings, and painted an educational mural- all by hand.
"I know this playground will be used by countless children, and it will be another way to help the families in our program" said Major Ray Yant, Salvation Army Sacramento County Coordinator.
As Kern County’s #1 ranked family attraction, the California Living Museum (CALM) provides nature and wildlife themed education for more than 36,000 school children. Operated by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, the site is an important destination for students and families alike. Home to regular free community access days, the museum receives thousands of visitors each year, overwhelming it’s undersized and well worn playground.
On November 10, over 300 volunteers from across the Bakersfield community were welcomed by the Mayor to construct a new, safe and institution-scale playground. The group included educators, PG&E employees, CSU Bakersfield athletes and CALM-going families. Together they constructed a custom educational new playground, tripling the size of playspace.The existing playground, after being removed intact by donated PG&E contractor labor, was donated to an area charter school.
"Even though we're working really hard, and we're going to be really tired at the end of the day, it’s going to help a lot of kids" said 11 year old volunteer Gillian Halkola.
Housed in a former school in an economically challenged area of East Oakland, Aspire College Academy rose out of local need. The academy is a charter school within the Aspire family, which delivers some of the nation's highest performing low-income school systems. Receiving less than 1/3 the public funding as traditional schools, the Aspire program boasts a nearly 100% college acceptance rate among graduates. The Oakland College Academy campus opened with volunteer support of parents and teachers- which helped paint rooms and build student desks. While the students recived strong academic support in the classroom, outside, the only playground was a small decades old metal structure inherited from the previous tenant.
On September, more than 250 volunteers- parents, teachers, neighbors and PG&E employees arrived at Aspire College Academy to bring the new playground to life. Over the course of 6 hours, the community replaced a 2,500 square foot plot of asphalt with a full playground, complete with swings, triple slide and a mural depicting the countries of the world.
PG&E Playgrounds Manager Amanda Tutera congratulated attendees on their effort. “Beyond this playground, the children of this area stand to receive more. They receive understanding that their community cares, and is invested in their success.”
We were proud to celebrate Aspire College Academy’s new playground with the following Community Partners:
For more than 70 years, the Housing Authority of San Joaquin has been continually serving the residents of San Joaquin County. The Authority is committed to providing safe, decent, and affordable housing for low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Conway Homes represents one of four area public housing projects made available to those of limited means. The Southside development provides affordable homes to 436 families, but lacked a defined playspace for the neighborhood's hundreds of children.
On November 2 more than 250 volunteers - Housing Authority staff, residents, neighbors and PG&E employees - arrived at Conway Homes to create a playground in a grassy plaza. Over the course of a single Saturday, the community built a custom play space complete with swings, triple slide and a tetherball court.
Housing Authority Compliance Officer Kristi Rhea summed up the energy of the project. "The Southside community is, and has been for some time, an economically depressed area. However, what makes the community unique is its willingness to overcome obstacles, embrace diversity, and work together to improve the lives of the residents."
We'd like to congratulate Conway Homes and the Housing Authority of San Joaquin. For more on this project:
Learn more about what PG&E is doing to support communities in need
Interested in seeing if your non-profit, school, or city might qualify for a future PG&E Playground?