Chrysler LLC and Community Partners Team Up With KaBOOM!

March 7, 2009

PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss., March 7 /PRNewswire/ — Before the sun set today,
hundreds of children who will attend the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast
Qatar Center and Pass Christian Elementary/Middle School got a great new place
to play.

The new playground, which was fully assembled from scratch in less than
eight hours, was built with the help of more than 200 volunteers from The
Chrysler Foundation, Chrysler Financial, Champion Chrysler Jeep(R) Dodge in
Gulfport, Miss., Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund, Gulf Coast Community
Foundation, representatives from Pass Christian School District and Boys &
Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast, organizers from KaBOOM! and residents of the
local community.

Throughout the day, volunteers hauled more than 72,900 square feet of
mulch — enough to cover 15 regulation-sized basketball courts — by hand in
tarps; mixed approximately 56,256 pounds of concrete — equal to the weight of
14 Dodge Challengers — by hand in wheelbarrows; and assembled brightly
colored playground equipment to bring the new play area to life.

Planning for the playground, which will be shared by the Boys & Girls Club
and the school, began at a Design Day event held in December. Local children
and community leaders met with organizers from KaBOOM! and Chrysler to design
their “dream” playground. The children’s drawings were used to create the
final playground design.

“Our children are very special to us and we are ecstatic that they are
going to have such a fantastic playspace for healthy development, exercise and
time with friends,” said Meridith Bang, Pass Christian Elementary School
Principal. “We appreciate the support and generosity of our sponsors and
community members who are helping to make this dream become a reality.”

When the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast Qatar Center opens in June
, it will be the first permanent Boys & Girls Club to open in Pass
since Hurricane Katrina, which tore through the Gulf Coast in August
. The Pass Christian Elementary/Middle School will also open in June 2009
and will provide children from the city with their first permanent school
since the hurricane.

“Our relationship with the Pass Christian School District is strengthened
by the newly constructed Qatar Center adjacent to the K-8 School,” said Samuel
J. Burke
, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast.
“This playground completes the property, making it a full service educational
and youth development campus.”

The project is the 24th playground to be built across the country by
KaBOOM!, The Chrysler Foundation, and Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealers. The
playground is also one of more than 200 builds KaBOOM! will lead across the
country this year in an effort to provide an enjoyable place to play within
walking distance of every child in America.

In addition, the playspace is the 15th built by KaBOOM!, the Mississippi
Hurricane Recovery Fund and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and is part of
Operation Playground, the KaBOOM! initiative to build playgrounds in areas
affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Pass Christian Public School District

The Pass Christian Public School District serves approximately 1,500
students attending two elementary schools, one middle school and one high
school. The district is ranked in the top 1 percent of school districts in the
state based on Mississippi Department of Education accreditation standards.
Despite the fact that the district and community were severely damaged by
Hurricane Katrina, the district has made teaching and learning its top
priority and continues to be “Committed to Excellence.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast has been providing life changing
programs to the youth of the Mississippi Gulf Coast for over 40 years. Its
mission is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need
the Club the most, to become productive, responsible and caring citizens. The
Club does that through quality, science-based after school and summer
programming for youth ages 5-18. Programs focus on five core areas: Education
and Leadership Development; Health and Life Skills; Character Development;
Arts; Sports, Fitness and Recreation.

The Qatar Center at Pass Christian is a 2,800 square foot facility
designed for the youth of the Pass Christian community. It has educational
rooms for various age levels, a Teen Center, rooms for games, music and art, a
community room and a gymnasium. Construction of the facility was made possible
by the Qatar Katrina Fund, and the vision and generosity of the HH Sheikh

Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar. Additional sponsors of
the facility include Walt Disney Foundation, DuPont and the City of Hollywood,

Gulf Coast Community Foundation

The Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund, administered by the Gulf Coast
Community Foundation, is pleased to play a role in rebuilding efforts along
the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Individuals on this project are working side by
side with neighbors and friends to make a difference and create a site that
will be used by kids, both young and old, for many years to come.

The Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund

The Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund was established by Governor
Barbour days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. Mississippi Hurricane
Recovery Fund Board Members hosted the Mississippi Rising concert in November
, and were also recipients of Mississippi’s portion of the Bush Clinton
Katrina Fund. Between the concert, Bush Clinton Katrina Fund and other private
donations, the MHRF raised in excess of $32 million.

The Chrysler Foundation

The Chrysler Foundation is the primary source of charitable grants made by
Chrysler LLC. The Foundation annually supports hundreds of charitable
organizations with an emphasis on community growth and enrichment, arts and
culture, education, and youth development programs throughout the United
and, increasingly, the world. The Foundation’s Good Neighbor, Good
Citizen(R) programs make a positive, lasting investment in local communities
where our employees, customers and neighbors live. Visit

Chrysler Financial

Chrysler Financial offers automotive financial products and services to
both dealers and consumers of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles in the U.S.,
Canada, Mexico and Venezuela. In addition, it offers vehicle wholesale and
retail financing to more than 3,600 Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealers. Nearly
three million drivers in the United States enjoy the benefits of financing
with Chrysler Financial. Chrysler Financial has an employee base of 4,000 and
supports a global portfolio of $70 billion. For more information, visit


KaBOOM! is a national non-profit organization that envisions a great place
to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since 1995, KaBOOM!
has used its innovative community-build model to bring together business and
community interests to construct more than 1,500 new playgrounds, skate parks,
sports fields and ice rinks across North America. KaBOOM! also offers a
variety of resources, including an online community, regional and national
trainings, grants, publications and the KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play,
which includes Playful City USA and the Playmaker Network – a national network
of individual advocates for play. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM!
also has offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit


Source: newswire

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