In the past 2 weeks, I've heard and read about two interesting news items.
The first is a company called Kaboom!, whose vision is-- "A great place to play within walking distance of every child in America". How wonderful is that? Here's a fact from their site that blew my mind-- "To date, KaBOOM! has built over 1,800 playgrounds, saving play for over 3.5 million children."
How did it begin? "In August 1995, shortly after moving to Washington, D.C., 24-year-old Darell Hammond read a story in the Washington Post about two local children who suffocated while playing in an abandoned car because they didn’t have anywhere else to play. Darell, who had previously helped build several playgrounds for other organizations, realized this tragedy could have been prevented. The passion was born, the idea was conceived."
One of the things I love about Kaboom!, is that they ask communities to provide a percentage of the money AND the labor to put up the playground. They've learned there's more pride and care when there's this level of commitment.
The second story was about a program for the unemployed in the state of Georgia, called "Georgia Work$" Perhaps it's just me with my Pollyanna view of the world, but it sounds like a program worth a good long look by other states.
Here's a excerpt from Newsweek magazine, "Unemployment means, on average, at least 20 weeks of unreturned phone calls and e-mails to nowhere. In Georgia, however, there’s an important difference: the search is more than a month shorter. That’s thanks to Georgia Work$, a novel jobs program that offers people a subsidized shot at self-reinvention. Enrollees get six weeks of on-the-job training—with up to $600 for expenses like new clothes—at a business with an immediate opening. Since 2003, thousands of people have found work this way, saving the state about $12 million in welfare costs."