Volunteers Improve Miami Kids’ Lives and Futures with Play

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Branches, ESPN, Disney and KaBOOM! Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and Enrich the Lives of Kids and Families by Building a Healthy, Safe Space to Play in One Day

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Branches' students are all smiles thanks to their amazing new KaBOOM! playground!

This playground is such a special gift for the children and youth of Branches and truly this entire community. KaBOOM! and ESPN have been amazing to work with and support has been invaluable." said Brent McLaughlin, ED of Branches

The children of Branches now have a new opportunity to get the balanced and active play they need. An empty lot at the Trish and Dan Bell Family Branches Center - Lakeview Campus was transformed into a kid-designed playspace in less than eight hours with the help of 150+ volunteers from Branches (@BranchesFL), ESPN (@TeamESPN), Disney (@CitizenDisney), area residents and organizers from KaBOOM! (@kaboom).

KaBOOM! believes a playground is more than a playground. It’s a brain-expander, friend-maker, and muscle-builder. Play is central to a child’s ability to grow into a productive adult. The design is based on the Branches children’s drawings created at a special event in May. Their ideas were then incorporated into the final playground design.

“ESPN International’s team based in Miami is thrilled to join forces with our colleagues at ESPN Deportes to build a new KaBOOM! Playground at the Miami Branches Center,” said Russell Wolff, Executive Vice President and Managing Director for ESPN International. “Together, we look to promote the health and well-being of kids and families, and support KaBOOM! in its vision of a great place to play for the children in the community.”

Since 1996, KaBOOM! has been dedicated to the goal of ensuring that all children get the balanced and active play they need to thrive because #PlayMatters. The new playground is one of many made possible with support from Disney as part of Magic of Healthy Living, an initiative that partners with parents to inspire kids to lead healthier lifestyles. By the end of 2014, Disney’s support will bring the magic of play to over 75,000 kids and families.

“ESPN Deportes is proud to join KABOOM! and Branches to build the new playground for the children in the community,“ said Lino Garcia, General Manager for ESPN Deportes. “Giving to the community of Miami is a great way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month; together we are creating a place for the children to play and incorporate more physical activity to the Branches program.”

Planning for the playground began at a Design Day event held in May. Local children and community leaders met with organizers from ESPN and KaBOOM! to design their dream playground. The final design of the playground was inspired by their drawings.

“Play is central to a child’s ability to grow into a healthy and productive adult,” said Kevin Callahan, vice president of community and engagement, Corporate Citizenship at Disney. “Disney is proud to join KaBOOM! and accelerate efforts that move every child to play every day—at home, in school, and in the community. Together, we hope to make places to play more accessible, and inspire kids and families to stay active.”

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About Branches, Inc.
For over 40 years, Branches has made a positive impact in the community by delivering on its mission to serve, educate and inspire people through student, family and financial stability services. Branches provides long-term, holistic services for motivated individuals and families. We help people grow deeper and climb higher in life by building a foundation through education so they can achieve their goals and fulfill their potential. For additional information about Branches, please call 305.442.8306 or visit http://www.branchesfl.org.

About Team ESPN
Team ESPN, the corporate citizenship program of ESPN, encompasses ESPN’s multi-faceted community initiatives, including employee volunteerism, charitable giving and cause marketing, while also utilizing its diverse media assets. Through Team ESPN, ESPN employees and fans join together to make a difference in the communities where we live, work and play.

About The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. Being a good corporate citizen is a time-honored Disney tradition. Through contributions, collaborations with local organizations, in-kind gifts and volunteering, Disney helps to brighten the lives of kids and families in need and strengthen communities around the world. In 2013, the Company donated nearly $370 million in cash, in-kind support and products, and Disney VoluntEARS gave over 667,000 hours of service. For more information visit, thewaltdisneycompany.com/citizenship or @CitizenDisney.

About KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to the bold new goal of ensuring that all children, particularly the 16 million American children living in poverty, get the balanced and active play they need to thrive. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has worked with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,000 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers and served 7.4 million children. KaBOOM! creates and catalyzes great places to play, inspires, empowers and leads play advocates, and educates and elevates the societal conversation about the importance of play in children’s lives. For more information, visit kaboom.org/act or follow the conversation on why #playmatters at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.

Isabelle Pike, Branches, 305-442-8306 x1002, ipike(at)branchesfl(dot)org
Gabriela Nunez, ESPN, 646-547-5613, gabriela.nunez(at)espn(dot)com
Charmion Kinder, Disney, 818-627-4819, charmion.kinder(at)disney(dot)com
Kristine Austria, KaBOOM!, 202-746-8797, kaustria(at)kaboom(dot)org

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Isabelle Pike
305-442-8306 Ext: 1002
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