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Date: 2015-06-17

Volunteers Help Build Children-designed Playground in Newark

NEWARK (WABC) -- Important building blocks were taking shape in Newark on Thursday as hundreds of volunteers joined forces to give children a new playground.

However, this is not just any play space; the parking lot at the Life Academy Elementary School was built in 8 hours and was designed completely by kids.

"At first our kids got to sit down, and they drew pictures of their ideal playground," said Life Academy Principal Samantha Traub.

Each child had their own specification - Omega Croom Davis wanted a sandbox, and Ngoli Croom Davis wanted monkey bars.

This all came about after principal, Samantha Traub learned about KaBOOM!, an organization that helps create kid-designed playgrounds for schools that don't have one, funded partially by Morgan Stanley.

"Within a mile and a half radius, there wasn't a playground, and now we come in with our crew with the community," says President of Morgan Stanley Foundation.

Volunteers both large and small got in on the action.

"I used the paint brush, the roller - I've used the wrench, the hammer - I haven't used the drill yet," said Jaden White.

Each swish of the paintbrush brings the children's designs to life.

"We have the giant climber and the cosmic warp - we have two slides that are going to be going in as well," said KaBOOM!'s Teresa Krippen, "not many kids can say they're a playground designer."

One thing you will not find on the playground is a slide, because the kids wanted a playground where no child played alone.

"They felt a swing set would just have one kid on the swing, and they wanted everything for them to work together," says Principal Traub.
The best part was watching the children's faces light up when they finally got to see the playground they created.
"I feel excited and joyful," says 5th grader Dwyane Holmes.

The fun is not reserved just for the students - the playground will be open or the entire community to use.

Watch the newscast here.