It started out as a few concrete slabs and a mountain of mulch in the middle of a grass and dirt tract running along Highway 99 in the heart of Central California’s agricultural corridor. But in just five-and-a-half hours on a bright Sunday in mid-February, the town of McFarland had a new playground, thanks to a team effort by hundreds of Disney VoluntEARS, partners from nonprofit KaBOOM! and members of the McFarland community.
The playground build was in celebration of the upcoming February 20 release of Disney’s new film McFarland, USA. The film tracks the true 1987 story of novice runners from the economically challenged town who give their all under the direction of new coach Jim White to build a championship cross-country team and, ultimately, an enduring legacy. Talent fromMcFarland, USA, including director Niki Caro, got in on the playground-building action, while Coach Jim White, played by Kevin Costner in the film, attended the festivities and dedication, before a hometown premiere of the film that evening.
My fellow VoluntEARS and I had a great time raising play structures and building benches, picnic tables, bike racks, shade awnings and more. Power tools were wielded, mulch was danced upon and two truckloads of cement were mixed by hand! At the end of the day, the kids of McFarland—whose drawings inspired the one-of-kind playground design—had a great new space to call their own.
The new McFarland play space, the 58th playground collaboration between Disney and KaBOOM, is made possible as part of Disney Magic of Healthy Living—the Company’s commitment to partner with parents and inspire kids to lead healthier lifestyles. By the end of 2015, Disney’s support will bring the magic of play to over 83,000 kids and families.