It’s the time of year when people are extra nice and are often donating their time and money for good causes – so it should come as no surprise that volunteers in High Point plan to transform two older basketball courts at Southside Recreation Center, at 401 Taylor Avenue in High Point, into new multi-sport courts for the enjoyment of the kids in the surrounding community.
On Wednesday, Dec. 11, beginning at about 8 a.m., there will be a brief kickoff of the project with remarks by organizers. Later that day, at 2:30 p.m. there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony; and, rain or shine, about 100 volunteers will construct the new multi-sport court.
The project is a coordinated effort between the United Way of Greater High Point, High Point LEAP, the City of High Point Parks and Recreation Department and KaBOOM! – a national non-profit that helps communities rebuild playgrounds.
The local groups joined together to submit a grant proposal earlier this year. Southside was announced the winner of the grant that’s funded by the Newell Brands Charitable Foundation.
Employees from the local Newell Brands office will also be volunteering their time to help out on Dec. 11, known as “Build Day.”
In October, local children chose which sports they wanted to see available at the courts. The High Point Parks and Recreation Department will manage and maintain the multi-sport courts after the initial construction.
“We know that play matters for children to grow, thrive and develop,” said Claire Robinson, the founder and president of High Point LEAP.
LEAP is a youth literacy afterschool program for kids who use Southside Recreation Center.
“We are thankful to the Newell Brands Charitable Foundation for the major funding for this project. This will be the largest multi-sport courts KaBOOM! has built to date,” she added.
According to informational materials provided regarding the project, “Studies reflect that kids today have fewer opportunities for play. Only one in four adolescents get the recommended 60 minutes of active play per day, with the number of younger kids only slightly higher. A study by Peter Gray, Ph.D. and Professor of Psychology at Boston College indicates that, between 1981 and 1997, time spent playing by children age six to eight declined by 25 percent, and the loss of play for play’s sake coincided with a dramatic increase in anxiety, depression and suicide rates among teens and young adults.”
Another participating agency on the project team is the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater High Point, which will lead play activities for youth once the new court is finished.
WellCare of North Carolina and the Ilderton Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Dealership are the “vision sponsors” for the project.
Other companies are invited to sponsor or donate to this effort to help children in Southside High Point. It’s important, project backers say, since the availability of play spaces is far more restricted in low-income neighborhoods.
To volunteer online, visit https://nvite.com/kaboom/fc55f and to donate online, visit at https://www.unitedwayhp.org/kaboom.