Darell Hammond

Ashoka Fellow
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Fellow Since 2003


This profile was prepared when Darell Hammond was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
Darell is shifting the playground industry to focus on children's needs. Research shows that 95 percent of a child's character is formed before 5, and play is a crucial part of this process of character development. In the play environment, children learn motor skills, social interaction, and creativity. It is therefore critical that each child have access to an interactive play environment that is both safe and stimulating. Darell sees play as a fundamental right. Indeed, he maintains that play should be a expectation for every child. His organization KaBOOM! has led to the construction of 500 new playgrounds and improved more than 1,500 others since it was founded in 1995. But there are thousands of neighborhoods where children still have no access to adequate, safe play spaces. What makes Darell's model work in neighborhoods where there are no active Parent Teacher Associations or parents to raise money to build playgrounds is that he forms partnerships between local communities and corporations to build safe and fun playgrounds for children.
With the success of Darell's model, KaBOOM! has become a key player in the industry, and he believes that now is the time that attitudes at the policymaking level can be tipped toward establishing the right to play.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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