Ready, Set, Get Building!
In as little as six hours, with a few tools and lots of labor, an empty lot or rundown playground can be transformed into a safe and stimulating place for children. The impact of active, collaborative play, however, can last a lifetime.
The Pacific Life Foundation has partnered with KaBOOM!—a nonprofit dedicated to bringing play areas to kids across America, especially those living in poverty—since 2014. The Foundation had been looking for opportunities to engage more employees in single events, especially ones that make a visible difference. KaBOOM! was already active in the Los Angeles area, had a great reputation and could accommodate big groups in very tangible projects.
Hundreds of Pacific Life’s Good Guys volunteers have participated in playground builds in Orange County and Omaha. “You don't have to know anything about building,” said volunteer Jason Gage. “Being a craftsman is not a strength of mine. It's more of the willingness to just go out and give your resources, whatever they are. Every single person in this company can help.”
For participants, nothing could be more rewarding than seeing children excited about the spaces they’ve helped create. Gage returned to the site of the first build he joined after two weeks to see it filled with kids. During one build in Santa Ana, Pacific Life’s volunteers could see children looking out the windows of a nearby apartment complex, eagerly awaiting the okay to come and play.
“When you're there and you're working with all the different employees,” Gage said, “working for that local park in that area, and talking to different people, to me it just drives more of: How else can we help in the community? What else can we do?”