Brooks & Dunn help build a playground and restore a community
Country music superstars partner with Community Renewal, The Home Depot and KaBOOM!
For release: Oct. 25, 2007
Country music superstars Brooks & Dunn teamed with Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal today to build a playground and to build hope in a neighborhood reeling from two tragic events in the past week.
Nine-year-old Treveon Hunter was shot and killed while standing in front of his grandmother's house only a few blocks from the new playground. And the morning before the playground was built, six children aged 10 and under were found alone in a house with no food, no heat and no running water.
Shreveport native Kix Brooks saluted Community Renewal for its efforts to prevent tragedies by restoring families and building safe communities. The new playground - built in a day by some 250 volunteers - stands next to a Community Renewal Friendship House in the Queensborough neighborhood.
"There's a crime element that comes when neighborhoods go the wrong way. That's when it takes special courage. You can build higher fences and run away from it, or you can meet it head on. Community Renewal is a prime example of people that have met it head on," he said.
The KaBOOM! playground is part of The Home Depot Humanitarian Award won by Brooks & Dunn at the 42nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.
"Community Renewal is reclaiming some of these neighborhoods and I'm really appreciative of the work they are doing. They roll up their sleeves and do something good for the community. I know David Toms and a lot of other people have kicked in and are trying to make Shreveport everything that it can be," Brooks said.
"There are neighborhoods that we have lost to some extent and they are getting them back. It's very exciting. I get the reports from Community Renewal and being from Shreveport, it makes me really appreciative to see the people who are doing the work."
Kym Doughty is hardware manager at a Shreveport Home Depot store and helped with much of the preparation for the build day.
"This is part of our core values to give back to the community. That is something we live by and something we feel very strongly about. I met some of the kids the first day and if you meet them and that doesn't touch you, you need to check for a heartbeat. They are amazing," she said.
"And they just need a chance and a place to be safe. It's all about us working together in the community. This Friendship House is so desperately needed."
Nate Rosenthal, project manager for KaBOOM!, said the day at the Friendship House was a total success.
"This morning we had a bunch of holes in the ground, equipment, piles of lumber - and now we have an outdoor classroom, six planter benches, a beautiful new playground and a musical note garden," he said.
"If we can accomplish all this in one day, just think what we can do the next day and next month and next year."
Community Renewal Founder and Coordinator Mack McCarter officially opened the playground at the afternoon board-cutting ceremony.
"We have accomplished here things of vast significance. It seems like we just closed our eyes and all the sudden we had the most wonderful playground in all of Queensborough in less than a day. If we close our eyes again, we can think of the young lives here who need to be nurtured," he said.
"Who knows if the next Billy Graham might swing in these swings or the next Florence Nightingale might climb on these poles. Beyond what we can dream or think or believe, lives are going to be grown here that can literally change the world. We believe!"
The project was made possible by a partnership between The Home Depot, the Academy of Country Music and KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization whose vision is to create a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. As a founding partner of KaBOOM!, The Home Depot provides financial support, materials and numerous volunteers for playspace projects as part of its ongoing commitment to give back to the communities its stores serve. By the end of 2007, The Home Depot and KaBOOM! will have built more than 1,000 new places for children to play across North America.
Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal is a nonprofit effort to restore safe and healthy communities through caring relationships. Founded in 1994, SBCR reaches at-risk youth through Friendship Houses built in impoverished neighborhoods, strengthens education through the Adult Renewal Academy, partners with The Fuller Center for Housing and connects caring partners who turn their neighborhoods into safe havens of friendship and support.
Contact: David Westerfield, director of communications