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City of Worcester Division of Public Health Awarded $52,500 Let's Play Grant from Dr Pepper Snapple Group and National Non-Profit KaBOOM!

For Immediate Release: 2/12/2014 4:32 pm

Worcester, MA (February 12, 2014) - Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) and national non-profit KaBOOM! have recently awarded the City of Worcester Division of Public Health a $52,500 Let's Play Joint Use Grant.

The grant is part of Let's Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide. In 2011, as part of Let's Play, Dr Pepper Snapple Group made a $15 million, three-year commitment to KaBOOM!, the national non-profit dedicated to ensuring that all children, get the balance of active play they need to become healthy and successful adults. Together through Let's Play, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM! have built or fixed up 2,000 playgrounds, benefiting an estimated five million children across North America.

"Play and Recreation improves physical and emotional well-being. This is why this grant is great for our kids," said City Councilor Sarai Rivera. "Quality playspaces make recreation more enjoyable which in turn will make it more likely that our children and their families will engage, leading up to a healthier, happier community."

Joint use agreements are partnerships with local school districts to open school recreation facilities to the public during non-school hours. The Worcester Public School playground improvements will be district-wide and will allow community members to use playgrounds and approved outdoor facilities after school hours and during the summer. The plan lays out a timeline for a district-wide rollout of the policy over 40 months, giving plenty of opportunity for securing additional funding, stakeholder engagement, and course corrections. The plan opens up school facilities in 5 groups, a pilot group of 3 schools, and 4 additional cohorts of 3 schools each.

"Funding from this grant will enable us to open the playgrounds of selected schools during after-school hours and during the summer months. This initiative is congruent with the Worcester Public Schools' Wellness Policy which emphasizes Healthy Schools - Healthy Communities," said Dr. Melinda J. Boone, Superintendent of the Worcester Public Schools. "We are committed to providing opportunities for increased physical activity for all and we are pleased that our students and their families will have access to this great opportunity."

A playground is more than a playground. It's a brain-expander, friend-maker, and muscle-builder. Play is central to a child's ability to grow into a productive adult. It can transform children from sedentary, bored and solitary to physically, mentally and socially active. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has been dedicated to the bold goal of ensuring that all children get the balance of active play they need to become healthy and successful adults because #playmatters.

About City of Worcester Division of Public Health
City of Worcester Division of Public Health works to protect and improve community well-being by preventing disease and injury while promoting social, economic and environmental factors fundamental to health. This Division is the foundation of the local public health system that comprises public and private-sector health care providers, academia, community based organizations, business, and other local and state governmental entities. For more information, visit www.worcesterma.gov . Follow us at Facebook - Worcester Division of Public Health or Twitter - Worcester DPH.

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! have built or fixed up 2,000 playgrounds through the end of 2013, benefiting an estimated five million children across North America. For more information, visit LetsPlay.com  or Facebook.com/LetsPlay.

About KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to the bold new goal of ensuring that all children, particularly the 16 million American children living in poverty, get the balance of active play they need to become healthy and successful adults. KaBOOM! has been a powerful champion for play since its founding in 1996, working with partners to build, improve and open more than 15,000 playgrounds, engage more than 1,000,000 volunteers and serve more than 6,600,000 children. KaBOOM! creates and catalyzes great places to play, inspires, empowers and leads play advocates, and educates and elevates the societal conversation about the importance of play in children's lives. For more information, visit kaboom.org/act or follow the conversation on why #playmatters at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.

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