November 8, 2018

In a Houston neighborhood affected by Harvey, 200 volunteers show the true meaning of community

With help from the nonprofit KaBOOM!, The Allstate Foundation provides an elementary school with its first ever playground

In its 80 years of teaching Houston’s kids their ABC’s, Gardens Elementary School never had a playground. It took a Category 4 hurricane—plus 200 volunteers and six hours of labor—to finally build one.

And so in February, parents, teachers, kids, and the community at large cut the ribbon for the school’s very first playground, a colorful, state-of-the-art play palace that would be any kid’s dream. The outpouring of support from the volunteers helped the daylong project take shape.

Although the school itself did not become flooded after the storm, the surrounding community was ravaged by Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, affecting many of the students and their families.

Gardens principal Lindsey Lesniewski choked back tears as she thanked the volunteers for their commitment. “This is such a big deal for our community … and for our kids.”

The playground was made possible through a grant from The Allstate Foundation to KaBOOM!, a nationwide nonprofit that helps communities design and build outlets for kids to safely play and be active. The grant is part of Allstate and The Allstate Foundation’s $1.5 million commitment to assist people and communities affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“We were looking for a way to give back and to help people and communities such as Pasadena recover,” Allstate Texas region spokesperson Katylin Johnson told the Houston Chronicle. “We chose Gardens because they were heavily impacted by the hurricane and because they had an empty site, and to change an empty site to a state-of-the-art playground in just six hours is a great way to give back to the community and create a safe place to play.”

Want to learn how Houston is renewing? Join The Atlantic and Allstate in H-Town Nov. 13 as they talk to local leaders and innovators about what’s working in their community. RSVP here for The Renewal Summit: Houston.

The Renewal Project

The Renewal Project is an effort by Allstate to highlight, support, and celebrate ordinary people creating extraordinary community renewal.