Despite the heat, more than 100 Delta employees and their friends and family members as well as more than 100 volunteers from KIPP Indy built Delta's first playground in Indianapolis for KIPP Indy Unite Elementary Saturday.
Indianapolis employees, including those located in the Ohio Valley Region, spanning from every division volunteered their time to participate in the six-hour build. In addition to local employees, Delta people traveled from Atlanta, New York City, Tampa, Seattle and Toronto to volunteer their time.
The one-of-a kind playground, which was inspired by the designs of KIPP Indy Unite's students, included a climbing wall, triple slide, tire swing, a large climbing dome, planter boxes and a xylophone.
"The Delta Spirit is one that is so contagious that you can't help but share it and pass it forward by being a part of our community," said Christa Khalilieh, Station Manager - Indianapolis, who volunteered at the build this past weekend. "Whether it is in our own backyard or globally, it is all about making a difference in someone's life by being an advocate, building a playground, building a home or just spending time together – small moments can last a lifetime."
In 2004, KIPP Indianapolis, also known as KIPP Indy, was founded with just one 5th grade classroom as a tuition-free, college preparatory alternative to public school. Since then, they have expanded to a middle school and a currently-expanding elementary school. KIPP Indy Unite Elementary is currently serving students in grades K–2 and will continue to expand one grade per year until they fill all of grades K–4. KIPP's mission is to create a network of schools that provides educationally underserved children with a rigorous education that builds the desire and ability necessary to thrive in college and beyond. Additionally, the school provides a college preparatory education for students and to set them on the path to and through college.
"We serve the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood on the near east side of Indianapolis. This is one of the least affluent and most educationally underserved areas of the state – 95 percent of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch," said Andy Seibert, Chief of Staff - KIPP Indy, who attended the build. "Having access to high quality, well-rounded education is imperative for the short- and long-term vitality of Martindale-Brightwood. At KIPP Indy, we believe an integral part of a well-rounded education is having access to safe and engaging play and activity. Having access to high-quality, new play equipment would make this desire a reality for the children that attend our schools as well as for many other children in our surrounding neighborhood."
To date, Delta has built 14 KaBOOM! playgrounds in Atlanta, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Nashville and Seattle. There are three more playgrounds planned this year, bringing the airline's total builds to 17. This latest playground was Delta's first KaBOOM! build in Indianapolis.
KaBOOM! is the national nonprofit dedicated to giving all kids – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play so they may thrive. KaBOOM! supports the people pillar on the 2016 Flight Plan (build a great place to work) and the health and wellness pillar in Community Affairs.