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Back to Communications Home

Giffen partners with county, Dr Pepper Snapple, KaBOOM!

to bring a new playground to the South End  

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 9, 2012) -- Dozens of school and community volunteers came together June 9 to bring a new playground to Giffen Memorial Elementary School and the city's South End.


The City School District of Albany has received $25,000 in grants from three organizations to make the project possible. Dr Pepper Snapple Group and national non-profit KaBOOM! awarded the district a $15,000 Let’s Play Community Construction Grant. The Albany County Strategic Alliance for Health provided a $10,000 award.


The project also included a beautifcation of the school grounds, with volunteers clearing a significant amount of brush and trees from the area surrounding the playground, and planting flowers and doing general landscaping around the school grounds.


Check out media coverage of the project on WNYT/Ch. 13.


“We are grateful to these exceptionally generous organizations for providing our school district with the resources and support to bring a playground to Giffen and the South End community,” said Superintendent Raymond Colucciello, Ed.D. “This is an outstanding partnership that will help children be more active and healthy while they are having fun.”


The Dr Pepple Snapple Group/KaBoom! grant is part of the Let’s Play initiative introduced in November of 2010 – a $15 million, three-year commitment from Dr Pepper Snapple Group to KaBOOM!, the national non-profit saving play by ensuring there is a great place to play within walking distance of every child. Together, through Let’s Play, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM! will build or fix up 2,000 playgrounds by the end of 2013, benefiting an estimated five million children across North America.


Albany County is one of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Strategic Alliance for Health (SAH) communities. Its purpose is to enable communities to reduce the burden of chronic disease through sustainable, evidence-based chronic disease prevention and health promotion programs that focus on policy and environmental change as opposed to individual behavior changes.


“This playground is an example of how we can provide a community resource that will promote physical activity as a healthy choice for kids,” said Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy. “When kids have a positive experience and see exercise as fun, we can effect real change. There are approximately 4,000 residents within a half-mile of Giffen that can benefit by this $10,000 grant."


Giffen educates more than 450 students from prekindergarten through grade 6. While Giffen’s primary goal is to educate students, the school plays a crucial role in the fabric of the city’s South End. The new Giffen playground will become an essential part of the school and community. In fact, the entire neighborhood will enjoy both its appearance and its usages.


“Nothing can make one’s heart smile more than the sight and sound of children laughing, learning and playing together,” said Giffen Principal Maxine Fantroy-Ford, Ed.D.


Unstructured, child-directed play has been proven to help kids develop physically, socially and cognitively, yet today’s kids have less time and fewer opportunities to play than any previous generation. Via Let’s Play grants and projects in 2011, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM! built or improved 528 playgrounds, benefitting an estimated 1.3 million children during the lifetime of the playgrounds. People are encouraged to visit Let’s Play at to join the conversation and learn how to apply for the various available grants to make their communities more active and playful.


About Albany County

Albany County is made up of three cities, six villages and 10 towns with a population of 304,204. The county is made up of urban, suburban and rural communities. The Albany County Strategic Alliance for Health is a coalition of partners devoted to getting at the root cause of poor nutrition, lack of physical activity and tobacco use to eradicate chronic diseases of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.


About Dr Pepper Snapple Group

Dr Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS) is the leading producer of flavored beverages in North America and the Caribbean. Our success is fueled by more than 50 brands that are synonymous with refreshment, fun and flavor. We have six of the top 10 non-cola soft drinks, and nine of our 12 leading brands are No. 1 in their flavor categories. In addition to our flagship Dr Pepper and Snapple brands, our portfolio includes Sunkist soda, 7UP, A&W, Canada Dry, Crush, Mott's, Squirt, Hawaiian Punch, Penafiel, Clamato, Schweppes, Venom Energy, Rose’s and Mr & Mrs T mixers. To learn more about our iconic brands and Plano, Texas-based company, please visit


About Let’s Play

Let’s Play is a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS) to get kids and families active nationwide. The first Let’s Play initiative is a $15 million, three-year commitment to KaBOOM!, the national non-profit that’s saving play. Together, through Let’s Play, DPS and KaBOOM! will build or fix up 2,000 playgrounds by the end of 2013, benefiting an estimated five million children across North America. For more information, visit Let’s Play on Facebook at or online at


About KaBOOM!

KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to saving play. Children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation, a fact that is having disastrous consequences on their health, achievement levels and overall well-being. To fight this play deficit, social entrepreneur Darell Hammond founded non-profit KaBOOM! in 1996 in Washington, D.C., with a vision of creating a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since then, KaBOOM! has mapped over 89,000 places to play, built more than 2,000 playgrounds, and successfully advocated for play policies in hundreds of cities across the country. KaBOOM! also provides communities with online tools to self-organize and take action to support play on both a local and national level. Hammond chronicles the founding of the organization and the importance of the cause of play in his The New York Times Best Seller KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play. The book details how businesses and communities can work together to save play for children across the country. All author proceeds support KaBOOM!. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit


The mission of the City School District of Albany is to educate and nurture all students to be responsible citizens, critical thinkers and lifelong learners to successfully compete in the global community by providing an academically rigorous and safe environment in partnership with parents, students and the community. The district serves about 8,700 students in 15 elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as well as other innovative academic opportunities for students, including four themed academies at Albany High School.

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