Play is so important, even in times of tragedy. Now, the kids and community of Uvalde, Texas, will have a new place to play and have fun, thanks in part to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle! Through their Archewell Foundation, the Sussexes helped support the DeLeon Park Playground Project to build a new playground near Robb Elementary School, where 19 students and two teachers died in the May 2022 school shooting.
“It has been an honor to support the children and families in Uvalde design and build this amazing space where the community can come together,” said James Holt, Executive Director of Archewell Foundation, in a statement. “Our hope is that this special project can help the community heal, and be home to imagination, games and play for many years to come.”
Meghan and Harry’s Archewell Foundation partnered with the City of Uvalde and KABOOM!, an organization that builds kid-designed playspaces. The goal is “to provide a sense of hope for the Uvaldve community that has come together to recover after the tragedy at Robb Elementary School that impacted the lives of the entire community on May 24,” according to a recent press release.
The new playground is located at DeLeon Park, which is just four blocks from Robb Elementary. This project was led by the community, including kids, who shared their ideas for the playground during Design Workshops in August. The most common requests included slides, swings, merry-go-rounds, and tetherballs.
“It warms my heart to see everyone unify to bring hope and positive change for our community and children by helping to build this special playground,” said community member Mayra Vasquez in the release. “I’m excited to see many families come together to work out, have family gatherings, and allow our kids to release energy and have fun at the end of the day.”
Mayor Don McLaughlin said in a statement, “Uvalde has a long road ahead to recover, but this is a resilient and close-knit community. Coming together to build the new playground at DeLeon Park has given community members a way to unite around something positive as they try to heal.”
He added, “We are grateful for the rallying of support from KABOOM!, Archewell, and others who are committed to the long-term health and well-being of the kids and families in Uvalde.”
Playgrounds bring joy to the community, but especially to the kids who are experiencing trauma in the aftermath of the deadly school shooting. This is a place where they can run, laugh, swing, slide, play games, and just have fun — which is such a vital part of childhood and life in general.
“The Uvalde community has experienced an unthinkable tragedy,” said Lysa Ratliff, CEO of KABOOM!, in a statement. “Throughout our history we have experienced the healing power of coming together, and of play. Our hope is that our work can play a small role in helping the community build toward their future. KABOOM! is also committed to building beyond DeLeon Park and is actively raising the resources to address the broader playspace needs in Uvalde. We are ready to work in partnership and in bold new ways to ensure that all kids and families in Uvalde have a great place to play. That works starts today, and continues until playspace equity is achieved.”
This isn’t the first time the couple has shown support for the community of Uvalde. Back in May, Meghan Markle made a low-key visit to the Texas city to pay respects at the memorial set up outside the Uvalde County Courthouse. According to PEOPLE, this visit was done “in a personal capacity as a mother, to offer her condolences and support in-person to a community experiencing unimaginable grief.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who themselves are parents to Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1, created the Archewell Foundation to uplift and unite communities through acts of compassion. They founded it in Dec. 2021 with a special message that read in part:
“We believe in the best of humanity. Because we have seen the best of humanity. We have experienced compassion and kindness, from our mothers and strangers alike. In the face of fear, struggle and pain, it can be easy to lose sight of this. Together, we can choose to put compassion in action. We invite you to join us as we work to build a better world, one act of compassion at a time.”
What an inspiration!
Even royal kiddos love to be read to! Here are some of their favorites.
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