LACKAWANNA, NY– On Tuesday, October 23rd, the Buffalo Bills, the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, Baker-Victory Services Child-Pro, KaBOOM!, Toyota Rookie Club, the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, and PODS came together to build a playground at Our Lady of Victory School in one day's time.
The playground is based on drawings created by students in the Baker Victory Services-Child Pro program, who came together to create their dream playground during a design day held in September. It is the first playground built by the Bills, KaBOOM! and the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council in Western New York and was done in conjunction with the NFL-United Way Hometown Huddle – a league-wide day of service designed to bring awareness and impact to the issue of youth health and fitness.
The new playground is in alignment with the Bills' and the NFL's commitment to the PLAY 60 program, which encourages America's youth to be physically active for at least 60 minutes each day. Other Buffalo Bills PLAY 60 initiatives include the PLAY 60 Challenge, the PLAY 60 Eclipse Sports Kids Triathlon Series, Fuel Up to PLAY 60, the PLAY 60 Super School visit, and the PLAY 60 Ultimate Field Day for Kids.
"The PLAY 60 initiative is one of great importance to the Buffalo Bills organization," Mary Owen, Buffalo Bills Executive Vice President of Strategic Planning, said. "We are thrilled to be able to contribute to Baker Victory Services-Child Pro and do so in a way that will help keep children throughout the community physically active each day."
In addition to volunteers from the Bills' corporate and community partners, over 70 Bills staff and players came out to help support the build, including members of the Toyota Rookie Club #27 Stephon Gilmore, #11 T.J. Graham, #36 Delano Howell, #3 John Potter, #6 Shawn Powell, #77 Cordy Glenn, #61 David Snow,and Bills veterans #99 Marcell Dareus, #16 Brad Smith, #54 Kyle Moore, #19 Donald Jones, #92 Alex Carrington, #20 Tashard Choice, #91 Spencer Johnson, #25 Da'Norris Searcy, #37 George Wilson, #71 Sam Young, #43 Bryan Scott, and #28 C.J. Spiller.
"On behalf of the entire Father Baker Family, it is with sincere gratitude that we accept the generous gift of a state-of-the-art playground for the Our Lady of Victory/Baker Victory Services/ChildPro children and our community," said Sheila Walier, Director of Public Relations and Special Events for OLV Institutions and Baker Victory Services. "We are humbled by the collective gesture of the Bills, KaBOOM!, United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, and all of the local businesses, community volunteers, and staff who donated their time and resources to help make this vision a reality. The boys and girls who use our new playground, whether for recreational or therapeutic play, will reap the priceless benefits of healthy movement, confidence, joy, creativity, and self-expression for a lifetime.
The Buffalo Bills and American Dairy Association and Dairy Council's Fuel Up to PLAY 60 program served as a major spearhead in this endeavor. Fuel Up to PLAY 60 encourages children to live healthy and active lifestyles through proper eating habits and achieving 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
"My fellow farmers and I work hard every day to make sure families in WNY have plenty of fresh, healthy milk to drink. A good diet and exercise go hand in hand for a healthy body. We're happy to be a part of this playground project, which makes staying healthy easier by exercising in such a fun way," Roger White, American Dairy Association & Dairy Council board member and dairy farmer from Gasport, NY, said.
To help facilitate the event, PODS contributed two custom PODS that stored all of the necessary equipment for the event.
The Toyota Rookie Club also appeared at the event to help contribute to its success. Each season, the Buffalo Bills rookies appear at one event each month to help get acquainted with their new community and make a difference wherever possible.