playground-2-_web.pngHOMESTEAD – The vision of hundreds of formerly homeless children living in South Miami-Dade County has come true as a brand new playground they designed rose from the ground at Verde Gardens, an affordable housing community in Homestead.

On Saturday, March 23, dreams became reality as hundreds of volunteers built the new state-of-the-art playground from scratch in less than eight hours, with its design incorporating elements from the children’s original drawings.

The 145-unit Verde Gardens community is home to approximately 580 formerly homeless residents – 367 of whom are children, officials said.

The playground project – funded by a partnership initiated by the community’s developer Carrfour Supportive Housing with the John S. James L. Knight Foundation and organizers from KaBOOM! – was launched months earlier, when the children of Verde Gardens were asked to put crayon to paper to draw their “dream” playground.

Prior to the partnership with KaBOOM! and the Knight Foundation, the community included a very small playground structure only suitable for children under the age of five, officials said, while the community’s new playground will provide hundreds of children of all ages with a safe and fun place to play.

The Verde Gardens playground is one of three being built by the partnership in Miami-Dade County this year and one of more than 150 playground builds KaBOOM! will make possible across the country in 2013, officials said. 

“Our partnership with KABOOM! and the Knight Foundation has brought happiness into the lives of hundreds of formerly homeless children living at Verde Gardens and in the Homestead area,” said Stephanie Berman-Eisenberg, president of Carrfour Supportive Housing.

“The overwhelming outpouring of support from everyone that volunteered their time has resulted in a new playground that will make a positive difference in the lives of our community’s children for years to come.”