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Puu Heleakala Community Playground coordinated by Valley of Rainbows in partnership with Disney, Aulani Resort & Spa Cast Members, KaBOOM and Community Partners

Volunteers Improve Oahu Kids’ Lives and Futures with Play

Valley of Rainbows, Puu Heleakala Recreation Association, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa and KaBOOM! Celebrate nriching the Lives of Kids and Families by Building a Healthy, Safe Space to Play in One Day

Oahu, Hawaii  – More than 1,200 children now have a new opportunity to get the balance of active play they need. An empty lot was transformed into a kid-designed play space in less than eight hours with the help of more than 200 people from Valley of Rainbows, Puu Heleakala Recreation Association, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, organizers from KaBOOM! (@kaboom) and area residents.

“We’re honored and so excited to be a part of this awesome Playground Build in partnership with Disney, KaBOOM and our community supporters! This playground will be a special place for hundreds of keiki (children) to be enjoyed for many years; bringing the community, families and neighbors together,” said Denice Keli`ikoa, Valley of Rainbows president.  “Play is important for all ages and this playground provides opportunities for children to stay active in a safe and fun environment they helped build.  We thank Disney, our community partners, countless volunteers and Puu Heleakala residents for sharing their aloha to make this a reality!”

  “This new play space is one of the best things to come to our community,” said Regina Mass, board chair of Puu Heleakala Recreation Association. “We hope that it will bring light, hope and play into the lives of the children, families and residents in our community for years to come.”

 In February, children gathered with their crayons and imaginations to create their dream playground.  From these drawings, the children, parents and organizers were able to choose different play equipment and pieces, including color choices to create the beautiful playground we see today.  The children wanted to include our natural environment into the playground using an ocean theme with colors to coordinate with the backdrop of Puu Heleakala hills.  The playground also included a Butterfly and Bird Garden where the children built bird and butterfly feeders.  Picnic benches, trash receptacles and a shaded trellis was also built by our volunteers. 

Every week, the committee met via conference calls with KaBOOM coordinators to plan and coordinate details for our scheduled Build Day.  Lots of pre planning was involved with great committee chairs taking the lead in various areas of the build.  This included plans to remove the old playground equipment, prepping the ground, preparing the site for delivery of equipment, trash bins, bulldozers, gravel, mulch and tents.  Hundreds of tools (drills, wheelbarrows, hammers, ladders, hoses, cords, etc.) were borrowed from neighbors, friends and construction companies.  The Hospitality committee worked long hours to ensure all volunteers were fed and kept hydrated – breakfast, Hawaiian luau luncheon and snacks were provided.  The Recruitment Committee recruited over 300 volunteers, 18 Build Captains and an awesome security team who camped on site from Thursday to Tuesday to monitor the site.  Big mahalo to the community, residents, Hawaiian Electric, DHS staff at A`ala Park and the Eagle Scouts who worked nonstop to finish the playground for the 2:30 p.m. Dedication Ceremony.

Our Dedication Ceremony included a blessing for a safe project and acknowledgement of the sponsors.  Representative Karen Awana presented Disney, KaBOOM and Valley of Rainbows with a Proclamation from the State acknowledging the achievements of these agencies to their community and residents at Puu Heleakala.  The ceremony ended with the release of Rainbow Pigeons who circled the playground area twice before flying home to Pearl City. 

 The PHRA residents held two mini fundraising bazaar events to raise matching funds for the playground with plans to fundraise future funds to cover maintenance and repairs.  We’re thankful for the outpouring of community support and neighbors getting together to build this playground for their children.

On Tuesday, June 10 the Playground was officially opened to the keiki – allowing time for the cement to set.  Laughter, giggles and cheers were heard late in the night as the playground was filled with keiki and families who came to enjoy and gather together. 

“This is a dream come true and especially awesome knowing I helped design and choose!,” exclaimed Lexi Aipoalani-To`oto`o, an excited Youth Committee member, age 10 from Nanaikapono Elementary School. 

“Society’s well-being begins with a child’s well-being,” said Darell Hammond, KaBOOM! founder and CEO. “Thanks to the efforts from Disney and Valley of Rainbows and Puu Heleakala Recreation Association, we moved one step closer to giving all kids the joyful childhood they deserve.”

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 children’s drawings created at a special event in April. Their ideas were then incorporated into the final playground design.

Since 1996, KaBOOM! has been dedicated to the goal of ensuring that all children get the balance of active play they need to become healthy and successful adults 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.

“We are honored to work alongside KaBOOM! and Valley of Rainbows to build this new playground for our keiki,” said Elliot Mills, Vice President and General Manager, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai‘i. “Our Cast Members live, work and play on O‘ahu’s Leeward coast, and giving back to the community through this playground is just another way that we can help spread the magic of Disney and Aulani.”

“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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Making Dreams Come True, Valley of Rainbows

Making Dreams Come True, Valley of Rainbows was founded in 1999 dedicated to preparing individuals to embrace a diverse community, attain their personal goals, and aspire to become contributing citizens by providing assistance and support.  Over 2165 youth have received $175,000 in awards and benefits supporting youth with their sports, educational, school or cultural related activity. 

 Valley of Rainbows also coordinates three successful Youth Leadership educational conferences each year, attended by 500 students, grades 6-12, from eleven schools on the Waianae Coast with the goal of instilling the importance of higher education and helping these young leaders set goals and start planning their future.

Puu Heleakala Recreation Association            

Established in 1975, Puu Heleakala is comprised of 238 units in the Puu Heleakala Community Association and the Kahe Kai Condominium Association. Puu Heleakala Recreation Association’s mission is to bring owners and residents together to create a safe, attractive and peaceful community that brings pride and prosperity.

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai‘i

Uniquely designed for families and inspired by the wonders and traditions of Hawai‘i, Aulani is a family paradise with a touch of magic. Aulani offers kids, adults and families Hawaiian vacation experiences that combines the beauty and spirit of the Hawaiian Islands and culture with a special magic that only Disney can create. Delightful rooms and spacious Disney Vacation Club villas, a perfect location on a beautiful beachfront lagoon, and renowned Disney service and enchanting entertainment let dreamers of every age savor their time together on Hawaii as never before. Aulani opened its doors on August 29, 2011, and is Disney’s first hotel/vacation club resort away from its theme parks.

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 more than $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 twitter.com/disneycitizenship.


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 balance of active play they need to become healthy and successful adults. KaBOOM! has been a powerful champion for play since its founding in 1996, working with partners to build, improve and open more than 15,000 playgrounds, engage more than 1,000,000 volunteers and serve more than 6,600,000 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.

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