North Berwyn volunteers to build playground in one day

April 15, 2011 6:16:24 AM PDT
Some local children will soon have a new place to play -- thanks to a whole community of volunteers and two companies -- Kaboom! and Disney -- in North Berwyn.

Children in the North Berwyn neighborhood in Berwyn, Ill., were asked to draw the playgrounds of their dreams. So they put their crayons to work and came up with ideas.

"This one is a slide that so you can drop down high in the ground," Dario Santoy, 6, said.

"Monkey bars and a slide and swing set," Stephanie Suarez, 7, said.

"I wanted to make like a type of tree house so when you go up here, you go through here and there's a sphere over here," Daniel Ordonez, 12, said.

"I put some swings and some monkey bars, a seesaw and a pond," Diana Padilla, 12, said.

The children's designs will go to the project managers at Kaboom! -- who will bring their ideas to life. Kaboom! is a non-profit organization that builds playgrounds around the country in underserved areas. And they do it all in one day.

"Only one in five children live within walking distance of a park or playground and we try to change that by partnering with amazing companies like the Walt Disney Company and the North Berwyn Park District to build playgrounds with the participation and leadership of communities," Lexi Paza, Kaboom!, said.

The playground will also have a Farmer's Learning Garden with more than 800 square feet of garden beds.

Disney, which owns ABC 7, is sponsoring the project in a dozen cities around the country through its Magic of Healthy Living Initiative,

"This project is really near and dear to our hearts because it kind of allows us to talk to people directly and to help make something happen in a day is really exciting," Emily Barr, general manager at ABC7, said.

The new play area will be named for the long-time alderman Ben Bocata, who died in 2007 during his third term.

"He was a man who made every person feel special because to him every person was special," Maureen Broacto, widow.

Alderman Cesar Santoy said the playground is just the beginning for Ward 5.

"It's going to encourage more use of the area and it's also going to serve as the kickoff to an even larger redevelopment of what is really the last undeveloped green space in the city of Berwyn," Santoy said.

The playground will be constructed on Saturday June 4th and require about 200 volunteers. To get involved, contact Nancy Woods (708) 749-4900 ext. 11. To learn about Kaboom!, visit For more on the Disney initiative, visit