Childhood memories are usually about the simple things in life. Whether it’s swinging on monkey bars, slipping down a slide or becoming drunk with laughter from going in circles on a merry-go-round, many of a child’s greatest life experiences and lessons are on the playground.
Students at Centinela Elementary School will have greater childhood memories due to a generous donation from Carter’s Kids and American Airlines. Carter’s Kids and members of American Airlines’ Do Crew constructed a new play-ground for the school.
Carter’s Kids founder, Carter Oosterhouse, said the collaborative effort creates a connection with the kids and their “space” so that they gain a sense of ownership and care for the place that they helped to build. “We go all around the US building playgrounds for low-income schools, neighborhoods and communities,” said Oosterhouse. “Kids are so stagnant these days. They need a place to be active. When we build a playground, whether it’s in somebody’s neighborhood, community or school, kids completely enjoy it.”Oosterhouse said American Airlines contacted his organization because they had a project in which they were giving back to the community. When Centinela was selected for the playground donation, the wheels were in motion to engage all of the stakeholders.
“The American Airlines employees came out and helped us,” said Oosterhouse. “When adults are out here helping us, they’re almost like kids. It’s so fantastic. They remember when they were little kids. But really, the best part is when all of these kids are on the playground. That’s the best part. When we give kids something beautiful and bright and big and entertaining, they’re going to stay off of their computers, their laptops, and their telephones and are 400 percent more likely to be active if they have something attractive to play on. ”American Airlines Managing Director of Sales/Western Division Kyle Mabry kicked off the event by thanking all of the staff who came out and helped; but paid particular attention to the principal, students and teachers who work hard every day. Mabry told us how amazing it was to be a part of the build.
“It’s really interesting because Centinela is right in the flight path for our 225 flights that fly into LAX every single day; so this is our community. We have over 6000 employees here in the greater Los Angeles area, many who live right here in Inglewood and what’s important to Los Angeles and Inglewood is important to us. ”Mabry explained that while AA is the most global airline their hearts are still very local, and they care a lot about what goes on here. “This is a real privilege to be a part of this project and nothing makes us prouder than to do things that are important to the community,” he adds.
Centinela Principal Oscar Rodriguez said the donation couldn’t have come at a better time. “I feel really fortunate that we’re the beneficiaries of this amazing program through the partnership with American Airlines and Carter’s Kids,” said Principal Rodriguez. “Words can’t express how super excited I am.” The school needed a playground for the older kids since they had a playground for the TK students. This playground will be used by older kids for their recess and lunch. “We don’t have any grass, so this is an excellent resource to add to the choices they have at recess”, Rodriguez adds. The event was well attended with many community stakeholders on hand to witness the final reveal to the community.
IUSD State Administrator Dr. Vincent Matthews expressed his appreciation to the many partners for taking the time to support Centinela School and the district’s mission. He also took a moment to talk with Josh Temple, host of popular HGTV’s House Crashers reality television show who was on deck for the build as well. Temple regularly helps Carter’s Kids when he is in Los Angeles because he believes in its mission. “My kids attend public school, and I’ve done this at their school. This kind of thing is important; especially for a place like Inglewood where it kind of tips the scale a little bit to give these kids not something better, but what they deserve,” he said. District 2 Councilman Alex Padilla also spoke by applauding the partners and highlighting the importance of partnerships for student success. “It is difficult to imagine an elementary school without a playground, but that was the case here,” said Padilla. “This was truly an amazing event that could not have happened without the community participation of American Airlines, Carter’s Kids and Principal Rodriguez.” Immediately following the ribbon cutting ceremony, a stampede of students rushed the new playground as they could barely contain themselves. Great job everyone!