Who needs paint brushes when you have Philadelphia Eagles Center Jason Kelce’s beard?! Eagles Youth Partnership and the Philadelphia Eagles teamed up on May 30th, 2012 during the Eagles 16th annual Eagles Playground Build.
This build was no exception to the phrase “don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty,” or in this case, beards! One of the great scenes of the day was when Kelce invited three Comegys students to paint his beard bright pink before he proceeded to use it to slather paint on one of the exterior murals.
Where else could you find Cornerback Dominique Rogers Cromartie and Running Back LeSean McCoy leading a mass of students in the Cupid Shuffle on the dance floor? Or Quarterback Mike Vick and Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson teaching students routes on the newly installed synthetic turf field?
Eagles players, coaches, staff, cheerleaders and SWOOP took the asphalt lot and, together with the school community and many generous partners, transformed it into a vibrant and welcoming safe haven for children.
2012 Playground Build Coverage:
Students from Comegys School in Southwest Philadelphia joined the Eagles organization in painting colorful exterior and interior murals, inlaying mosaic tiles on benches and tables, constructing a large play structure and planting gardens in the newly designed outdoor classroom. A turf field was also installed to provide the children with an area to play field sports.
“We build playgrounds because every child deserves a safe and vibrant place to play and learn,” said Eagles Youth Partnership President Christina Weiss Lurie. “It’s a great day for the Eagles to connect with the community and show some of our littlest fans how much they mean to us.”
Said Comegys Principal Lisa Wilmer: “The Eagles playground and the mural arts designs will serve as a visual reminder that we are working towards greatness at Comegys Elementary School. Everyone is just happier since this project started, and when you ask students to talk about their school, they just beam with school pride. We are all tremendously grateful to Eagles Youth Partnership for this wonderful gift.”
Playground partners include: The School District of Philadelphia, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Playworld Systems, Lowell Hartzell Contractor, Sprinturf, Aramark, Dasani, Caramanico, Shriner Tree Care, Tents & Events, National Event Services, Philadelphia DJ and 94WIP.
Eagles Youth Partnership (EYP) and the Philadelphia Eagles Football Club will teamed up with the John Moffet Elementary School in Kensington on Wednesday, June 8, 2011, for the Eagles 15th annual Eagles Playground Build.
Eagles coaches, staff, cheerleaders and SWOOP took the asphalt lot and, together with the school community and many generous partners, transformed it into a vibrant and welcoming safe haven for children.
Students from Moffet School joined the Eagles organization in painting colorful exterior and interior murals, inlaying mosaic tiles on benches and tables, constructing a large play structure and planting gardens. A turf field was also installed to provide the children with an area to play field sports.
Moffet School, home to more than 460 students from kindergarten through 5th grade, was selected as the 2011 Eagles Playground Build school by EYP and the School District of Philadelphia. The murals that cover the outside of the school were created by a team of artists, led by David McShane, from the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. The mural theme was “House of Learning: Learning for the mind, body, and soul.”
2011 Playground Build Coverage:
“Every child deserves a safe and vibrant place to play and learn,” said Eagles Owner and Eagles Youth Partnership President Christina Weiss Lurie. “The Eagles Playground Build gives them that and much more. It brings dignity to a place of hardship and invites kids to dream big.”.
Playground partners include: The School District of Philadelphia, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Playworld Systems, Lowell Hartzell Contractor, Sprinturf, PermaLife Products, Aramark, Aquafina, Turkey Hill, Caramanico, Shriner Tree Care, Tents & Events, National Event Services, Philadelphia DJ and 94WYSP.”
Eagles Youth Partnership (EYP) was joined by every member of the Philadelphia Eagles organization to renovate Wister Elementary School's playground as part of the 2010 Eagles Playground Build.
Eagles players, coaches, cheerleaders and front office personnel worked together with students, community members and generous partners to transform the barren asphalt schoolyard into a bright and vibrant playground. Colorful murals, a large play structure and gardens highlighted the transformation. A turf field was also installed as part of the build, to provide the children with a safe area to play field sports.
This school, located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, was selected as the 2010 Eagles Playground Build site by EYP and the School District of Philadelphia. Students from pre-kindergarten through 6th grade will benefit from the renovations.
"The Eagles and the Eagles Youth Partnership have been great corporate partners to the School District of Philadelphia," said School District of PhiladelphiaSuperintendent Arlene Ackerman. "The project at Wister Elementary is the latest of nine school playgrounds which are benefitting our students. The children and their parents at all of these schools are the big winners. We all know about the mental and physical benefits of being active and these playgrounds at our schools encourage our students to get out and play, and that's a great thing."
"I am ecstatic about the Eagles Wister Dream Yard. The Eagles and the Eagles Youth Partnership have made the dreams of not just my students come true, but my dreams for them,"" said Wister Elementary School Principal, Donna Smith. "Students have experienced so much more than new schoolyard equipment. Members of the Philadelphia Eagles organization are also our reading buddies, teammates and friends. I can't thank the Eagles enough for all they've done to beautify the Wister School Community both inside and out."
This Eagles Playground Build was possible due to the help of a team of artists from the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, led by David McShane, The School District of Philadelphia, Playworld Systems, George Ely & Associates, Lowell Hartzell Contractor, Sprinturf, Shreiner Tree Care, Earthforce, Aramark, Aquafina, Turkey Hill, Tents & Events, Grumblethorpe and 94 WYSP.
Philadelphia Eagles players, coaches, cheerleaders and staff joined 500 students at the Potter-Thomas School in the West Kensington section of Philadelphia on June 3rd as part of the Eagles 13th Annual Playground Build.
Eagles Youth Partnership teamed up with Eagles owners Jeffrey and Christina Lurie, team President Joe Banner, Head Coach Andy Reid, quarterback Donovan McNabb and hundreds of others from the Eagles organization to transform Potter-Thomas into a safe and fun area for children to play. The team volunteers, community members and students spent the day together while they painted murals and constructed playground structures.
2009 Playground Build Coverage:
With the help of a team of artists from the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, colorful murals now adorn the school walls, both inside and out. A new turf field covers part of the schoolyard that was once a barren concrete lot, along with basketball nets, a volleyball court and gardens.
"The Eagles aren't here just for the day, we are leaving something for the children that will last for decades," said Eagles owner and Eagles Youth Partnership President Christina Lurie. "Eagles Youth Partnership will keep a relationship with the school for years to come, providing community support."
Potter-Thomas was selected to be part of the 2009 Eagles Playground Build through the Eagles Youth Partnership (EYP) and the School District of Philadelphia. Over the past months, the Eagles Eye Mobile and Book Mobile have visited the school providing free books and eye care to the students. Eagles employees have also volunteered their lunch break one day a week to read with the Potter-Thomas students as part of the team's Power Partners program.
The Eagles playground build was made possible with the help of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, the School District of Philadelphia, Playworld Systems, George Ely & Associates, Lowell Hartzell Contractor, Sprinturf, PermaLife Products, Aramark, Aquafina, Turkey Hill, Tents & Events and 94 WYSP.
"Our goal is bigger than giving children a beautiful and safe place to play," said Sarah Martinez-Helfman, Executive Director of Eagles Youth Partnership. "This day is also about building hope and about showing children we can make dreams come true with commitment, planning and hard work. Ultimately, it's the tremendous effort of our all of our partners and the ongoing commitment of the people in this neighborhood that will bring lasting positive change to Potter-Thomas School and this community."
EYP would be unable to assist in rebuilding the Potter-Thomas Playground without the help of Eagles fans. Proceeds from events such as Eagles Flight Night! allow EYP to provide for Eagles Playground Builds, the Eagles Eye Mobile and Book Mobile, along with their many other programs.
In support of Eagles Youth Partnership's 12th annual community-changing Playground Build on June 4, 2008, the entire Philadelphia Eagles organization - including players, coaches, cheerleaders and front office staff - worked along side students today from the William Bryant Academic Plus School to transform their barren asphalt school yard into a beautiful and imaginative safe haven.
"This project created a safe play space, yes. But we were also able to inspire hope and to let these children know that they matter," said Christina Weiss Lurie, President of Eagles Youth Partnership and owner of the Philadelphia Eagles. "These children are precious and they deserve this. Every child deserves this."
2008 Playground Build Coverage:
The Bryant Eagles Playground of Hope, located at 60th & Cedar Streets in Philadelphia, has become a new space for outdoor learning, recreation and relaxation. The playground features a large play structure, 3,750 square feet of synthetic field turf, colorful murals inside the school and on the three-story exterior walls and a plaza with mosaic benches and tables. Under the direction of Jane Golden and lead muralist David McShane from the City of Philadelphia's Mural Arts Program, all of the designs incorporated Bryant students' drawings and ideas, with a focus on the themes of peace and hope.
"We view our community service as both a responsibility and a joy," said Eagles president Joe Banner. "In fact, this service project started several months ago when most of Bryant's first graders started coming weekly to Lincoln Financial Field to meet with their reading buddies, which comprised of 45 Eagles staff who volunteered to coach the children in their reading skills. These pairings were reunited during the Playground Build."
Corporate and non-profit partners for the Bryant Eagles Playground include the School District of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Playworld Systems/George Ely & Associates, Lowell Hartzell, Sprinturf and Caramanico & Sons. Additional donors include Aquafina, National Event Services, Levy Restaurants, Turkey Hill Dairy, PermaLife and Tents & Events.
2007 Playground Build Coverage:
On June 6, 2007, Eagles Youth Partnership (EYP) led the entire Eagles organization in the 11th annual Playground Build. Every member of the organization -- players, coaches, staff, and management -- joined hands with students and EYP community partners to revitalize the William Dick School in North Philadelphia.
The newly transformed school is now filled with opportunities for recreation and relaxation, and includes a large play structure, complete with bridges, slides and a rock wall; a 3,000 square-foot synthetic turf field; murals around the inside and outside of the school which incorporate designs created by the students; two brick plaza areas complete with concrete benches and tables, all decorated with mosaic tiles; and, new trees and planters full of flowers. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, the Eagles brought excitement, hope, and inspiration to a school and community that desperately needed love, positive attention, and a safe place for children to play!
William Dick School Principal Amy Williams is confident that the excitement generated on June 6 will last far beyond the time that the Eagles were at her school. "Eagles Day sends a message to our students -- that they deserve to be surrounded by beauty, that they deserve a safe place to play, and that dreams really can come true."
Each morning, when the students arrive to their newly revitalized school -- filled with color, youthfulness, and energy -- they will be reminded that the Eagles want them to have a safe place to play and explore their dreams.
A special thanks to Philadelphia's Mural Arts Program and all other partner organizations for their involvement and commitment to this project.
2006 Playground Build Coverage
On June 8, 2006, the Eagles teamed up to create the Heston Eagles All-Star Playground at Heston Elementary School in West Philadelphia. Players, coaches and staff worked alongside students, teachers and members of the community for a day that was aimed at inspiring hope and providing these young people with a safe place to play.
EYP Executive Director Sarah Martinez-Helfman marveled at the impact of the playground build, both at the Heston School and those over the past 10 years.
"When we started, we wanted to do a nice thing in the community," said Martinez-Helfman. "We wanted to leave a print and do something meaningful so that the staff could bond with the community. We never imagined this kind of scope, this kind of scale. What we're doing here today is more than painting murals and doing mosaics and landscaping. We're instilling hope and we're trying to save lives."
The Eagles and the students of Heston Elementary may have only spent one day together, but it was one that will shape the lives of the children and future students forever.
A special thanks to the entire Mural Arts Program staff for being such amazing partners in this project.
On June 8, every Eagles player, coach, and staff member teamed up to "DO THE WRIGHT THING" and revitalize the Richard Wright School in North Philadelphia.
It was a day of service for the Eagles organization, one that by now is nationally recognized as a model for corporate America. Every single one of the franchise's employees worked in the 90-degree sun building a playground, painting murals, planting trees and shrubs and beautifying the school and surrounding grounds. The goal was to transform the school environment while bringing hope and pride to the children who live in the neighborhood.
Everyone was touched -- the teachers and administrators and parents and kids and all of the Eagles. After an "early bird" team of volunteers arrived at 7:30 AM, the remainder of the Eagles staff reported to the scene at 9:30 AM and dug in for work. The players arrived after practice -- and we all knew it as the kids shrieked loudly and followed Donovan McNabb around by the dozens -- a pied piper for these children.
It was a wonderful experience and another reminder of the impact the Eagles have in the region.
On June 10, 2004 the entire Philadelphia Eagles organization teamed up with students from Gideon Elementary School and community leaders in a unique construction project.
On this day, the Eagles organization worked side by side with youngsters from Gideon Elementary School in North Philadelphia to build the Gideon Eagles Nest Playground. In addition to providing volunteers, Eagles Youth Partnership contributed $75,000 toward the project. Eagles staff and players built a large play structure, created a mosaic tile bench, planted trees and flowers in an outdoor garden area also structured for hands-on science learning, and painted murals on the exterior and interior of the school. Inmates from Graterford Prison assisted in much of the prepatory work for two of the 4-story exterior murals, and felt that the opportunity to participate in this project enabled them to give back to the children in their community. All of the children featured in these murals are proud students at Gideon School.
McKinley Elementary School was the School District of Philadelphia's first choice site for their Campus Parks Initiative. With a $75,000 grant from EYP, leveraged with resources for the Mural Arts Program and Philadelphia Green, McKinley's blacktop lot was transformed with a play structure, a 40-foot long mosaic tile bench, a teaching garden and several murals inside and outside of the school, one of which spans the entire external wall. This day of service completely transformed McKinley Elementary-- the exterior and interior of the school, as well as the students and staff. McKinley's principal, Debora Carrera, stated that this project changed her school "from a prison to paradise.
The Eagles organization worked side-by-side with 180 third, fourth, and fifth graders from the Drew Elementary School in West Philadelphia to build the Drew Eagles Friendship Playground. In addition to providing volunteers, Eagles Youth Partnership also contributed $75,000 toward the project. The teachers at Drew Elementary School were concerned about the increasing violence between children at recess. As such, they consulted with their students who subsequently advocated that a playground be built on the bare asphalt schoolyard. During the planning process, the third, fourth and fifth grade teaching teams centered their classroom curriculum on this goal. Students enhanced their skills in reading, math, research, writing, design and computer literacy during the planning for this playground project.
In 2001, Eagles Youth Partnership led the Eagles organization in a project different from prior playground builds. The team joined with the Camden Children's Garden to build the Eagles Butterfly House and Education Center. This butterfly house is home to 10 different species of butterflies and operates through all four seasons. More than 500,000 people are expected to visit it each year, including children from Camden who are bused there with a grant from Eagles Youth Partnership. In April, 2002, the Camden Children's Garden was awarded the 2001 Annual Economic Development Award by the Camden County Improvement Authority and the Camden County Board of Freeholders. In his acceptance speech, Camden Children's Garden Executive Director, Mike Devlin, credited the Eagles with an 11% increase in attendance at the Children's Garden since the Butterfly House officially opened in November 2001. Eagles Youth Partnership has continued to support the Camden Children's Garden by funding the cost of an educator at the Eagles Butterfly House since its opening.
The Village Eagles Youth Park was built in a desolate area that was once 32 trash strewn vacant lots in North Central Philadelphia. Now it serves as a vital community resource and architectural landmark. Eagles Youth Partnership's $70,000 grant was instrumental in the development of the Village Eagles Youth Park. In addition to the funding, EYP led the entire Eagles organization and hundreds of community volunteers in building two play structures, painting several murals, planting hundreds of perennials and installing a tile mosaic that was designed by neighborhood children. The Eagles team also provided games for children and Eagles Youth Partnership distributed more than a thousand books from the Eagles Book Mobile. The Village Eagles Youth Park now serves as a clean and safe place for children to play. The park is maintained by the Village of Arts and Humanities greening crew and is used on a regular basis by children who participate in the Village's after-school and summer camp programs, as well as children from the Philadelphia Parent Child Center, Hartranft Elementary School and the Fairhill Apartments public housing site. In 2001 and 2002, EYP gave the Village of Arts & Humanities a grant to operate summer arts workshops in the park. The Village Eagles Youth Park demonstrates that beauty can be cultivated in the most barren and neglected places.
This playground was built on a desolate block known for its drug sales. The city had to dig 3 abandoned cars deep to level the ground for the play structure. The houses lacked electricity and running water. There are 1800 kids in the neighborhood and, until that day, there was no green space or safe place to play. The word on the streets was that this playground would not last more than a week. You just needed to look at the arrest made that day -- on the corner where Jeffrey Lurie and Donovan McNabb were painting the mural -- to expect that it wouldn't last... Well it has lasted -- and then some. The Eagles' arrival and investment in that neighborhood brought a revival. Neighbors hold flea markets and festivals on the site. Kids gravitate to the play equipment. Dealers have been forced out by their neighbors. Abandoned homes have been bought and fixed-up. Eagles Youth Partnership's grassroots partner in the neighborhood, Centro Pedro Claver, reported that in October of 2001, the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee voted that the block of 7th and Schiller Streets (bordering our playground) was one of the three most beautiful blocks in the city of Philadelphia. In 1999, most of the Eagles organization stepped onto a plot of rubble with their open hearts, shovels, power drills, paint brushes and optimism. Look at what they started. Eagles Youth Partnership grants have been supporting Centro Pedro Claver ever since.
The Eagles Unity Playground at Mifflin Square Park was built in one day by the Eagles' players and staff, along with students from five area schools in South Philadelphia -- Furness High School, Mt. Carmel School, Taggart Elementary, Sharswood Elementary, and Key Elementary School. The playground itself was designed by area students. Playground costs were covered by a $75,000 grant from Eagles Youth Partnership. The Eagles team, in conjunction with The National School and Community Corps and the Philadelphia Department of Recreation, transformed a park known for neglect and gang violence into a vibrant and welcoming family space. Preschool and elementary school children visit daily and families picnic there in the evenings. The park has come to be known for the many community festivals held there. Eagles Youth Partnership has funded some of those festivals and annual clean-ups.
The Eagles' inaugural effort on the playground front saw the entire organization -- including players, coaches and staff -- join hands with not only local residents but then-Vice President Al Gore and General Colin Powell. The project coincided with the Presidential Summit on Volunteerism, a week-long celebration of citizens involved in community service. Painted on a wall nearby that day was a saying that captured the spirit and the value of partnership in such a project: "Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand."