THE HOME DEPOT, KaBOOM!, PLAYWORLD SYSTEMS AND THOUSANDS OF GULF COAST VOLUNTEERS TO BUILD 10 PLAYSPACES IN FOUR DAYS TO MARK HURRICANE KATRINA ANNIVERSARY

Washington, D.C., August 5, 2006 – On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, The Home Depot, KaBOOM!, Playworld Systems and Hands On Network will mobilize thousands of volunteers to come together in Gulf Coast communities from New Orleans to Pascagoula to build 10 new playspaces in just four days. Each playground was designed by the children who will use it and planned with local residents.

In June, local children met with organizers from KaBOOM!, The Home Depot, Playworld Systems and Hands On Network to draw their ‘dream’ playgrounds and share their ideas for the new playspace; the children’s drawings were used to create the final playground designs. In addition to a new play structure, projects also include a number of other enhancements such as picnic tables, benches, shade structures and landscaping. Planning committees made up of local residents have met weekly with representatives from all four organizations to plan these enhancements as well as volunteer recruitment, site preparation and children’s activities for Build Day.

“Renewing hope for children is as important as rebuilding homes and businesses in communities. These new playspaces are just one way The Home Depot is helping restore communities following the devastation brought by Katrina,” said Bob Nardelli, Chairman, President & CEO of The Home Depot. 

The 10 anniversary week sites are Nelson UNO Charter School (New Orleans); Second Street Elementary School (Bay St. Louis); Carolyn Park Middle School (Slidell); Beck Park (Biloxi); Pass Christian High School (Pass Christian); Owen T. Palmer Park (Gulfport); Carol Vegas Park (Bay St. Louis); Central Elementary School (Pascagoula); Miramar Park (Biloxi); and Hancock Medical Center (Bay St. Louis).

Anniversary Week Schedule

Date

Start/Finish

Community Partner

City

Monday 8/28

8:30 AM / 2:30 PM

Nelson Charter School

New Orleans

Monday 8/28

8:30 AM / 2:30 PM

Second St. Elementary School

Bay St. Louis, MS

Tuesday 8/29

9:00 AM / 2:30 PM

Beck Park

Biloxi , MS

Tuesday 8/29

9:30 AM / 2:30 PM

Pass Christian HS Football Field

Pass Christian, MS

Tuesday 8/29

9:00 AM / 3:00 PM

Owen T. Palmer Park

Gulfport , MS

Wednesday 8/30

8:30 AM / 12:00 PM

Carol Vegas Park

Bay St. Louis, MS

Wednesday 8/30

8:30 AM / 2:30 PM

Central Elementary School

Pascagoula , MS

Thursday 8/31

8:30 AM / 2:30 PM

Carolyn Park Middle School

Slidell , LA

Thursday 8/31

8:30 AM / 3:00 PM

Hancock Medical Center

Bay St. Louis, MS

Thursday 8/31

8:30 AM / 3:00 PM

Miramar Park

Biloxi , MS

 
"We want this ‘week of play’ to show the Gulf Coast children and communities that we have not forgotten. At the same time, we need to remind the rest of the country that there is still a lot of work to do in the areas that were affected by the storms. There are still so many children who have no safe place to play, no place to just be kids. Given everything they’ve gone through this last year, we owe them that,” said Darell Hammond, CEO and co-founder, KaBOOM!. “KaBOOM! is committed to bringing play back to the Gulf Coast, one playground at a time, and we're thrilled to have dedicated partners like The Home Depot, Playworld Systems and Hands On Network by our side.”

The projects are part of Operation Playground, a two-year initiative of KaBOOM! to build 100 playgrounds in Gulf Coast communities affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  By the end of the year, KaBOOM! will have mobilized more than 5,000 volunteers to build 30 playgrounds in the Gulf Coast through Operation Playground.

The Home Depot is investing more than $75 million to support the ongoing rebuilding efforts throughout the Gulf region. Combining capital construction with philanthropic support, the investment is creating jobs, driving economic activity and supporting local community efforts to rebuild homes and offer hope for the future. Through the Rebuilding Hope and Homes program, The Home Depot, The Home Depot Foundation and its suppliers have committed more than $11.5 million in cash and materials to all phases of the relief, response and rebuilding efforts.

KaBOOM! and Playworld Systems have been partners since 2000. As part of the Gulf initiative, Playworld Systems is donating all the playground and LifeTrail equipment for each of the 10 builds and working with The Home Depot, KaBOOM! and Hands on Network to build the structures. The recreational equipment will be different at each site based upon the designs developed by local children and residents.
 
"Recreation is a vital element to people of all ages and we are dedicated to helping those affected by this disaster restore some sort of normalcy to their lives and their communities,” said Matt Miller, president of Playworld Systems. “We have been down to several of the build sites and have witnessed the devastation first hand. These communities need all the help they can get and Playworld is proud to be part of this effort.”

Hands On Network is a network of 58 nonprofit organizations around the world that inspire volunteers, create leaders, and change lives and communities through effective volunteer action. Immediately after the storms, Hands On Network established Hands On Action Centers in to help with disaster recovery and are now helping organize long term rebuilding efforts in the areas.
More information on the anniversary week projects and Operation Playground is available at www.kaboom.org

About KaBOOM!
Celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2006, KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Over the past decade, KaBOOM! has used its innovative community-build model to bring together business and community interests to construct nearly 1,000 new playgrounds, skateparks, sports fields and ice rinks across North America. KaBOOM! also offers a variety of resources, including a web portal and online community, regional and national trainings, grants and publications for communities that wish to plan a new playspace on their own. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago, Atlanta and San Mateo, CA.   For more information, visit www.kaboom.org or call 202-659-0215.

About The Home Depot
Founded in 1978, The Home Depot® is the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer and the second largest retailer in the United States, with fiscal 2005 sales of $81.5 billion. The Company employs approximately 355,000 associates and has 20XX stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico. Through its Home Depot Supply division, the Company operates one of the nation’s largest diversified wholesale distributors with operations in 41 states and Canada. The Home Depot has been recognized by FORTUNE magazine as the No. 1 Most Admired Specialty Retailer and the No. 13 Most Admired Corporation in Americafor 2006. Its stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: HD) and is included in the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index.

About Playworld Systems
Headquartered in Lewisburg, Pa., Playworld Systems is the commercial leader in customized recreation equipment expertly designed to provide fun and challenging activities that increase mental and physical wellness. With more than 30 years of experience, the family-owned company offers a variety of recreational solutions that develop physical strength, balance and aerobic activity, as well as enhancing social skills. Through its five brands - Playworld, PlayDesigns, Woodward Ramps and Rails, LifeTrail and Climbing Boulders -  Playworld Systems is recognized by its customers as a one-stop shop that offers the most innovative, creative and imaginative recreational products in the world. More information on Playworld is available at playworldsystems.com.

About Hands On Network
Hands On Network is leading a national civic movement bringing people together to tackle tough community problems. The Hands On movement is led by a network of 58 local nonprofit organizations that act as civic action centers. The Hands On approach inspires volunteers, creates leaders, and changes lives and communities through effective volunteer action. For more information about Hands On Network, please visit www.HandsOnNetwork.org or call (404) 979-2900.