Turning Parking Lots Into Playgrounds

  1. Updates

Imagine a large gray parking lot covered in old, nearly faded white lines. The boring, monotonous landscape is not something we would want our children to consider their play area, but for most children in San Francisco, it is. This summer corporate volunteers from Salesforce and the Rotary Club of San Francisco, in partnership with Playworks, took a day out of their busy work week to roll up their sleeves. They picked up their paintbrushes and transformed four such parking lots into vibrant school playgrounds covered in clear lines and bright colors.

Over the course of the summer, Fairmount Elementary, Bahia Vista Elementary, George Washington Carver Elementary, and Dr. Charles Drew Elementary all received a full make over that went deeper then the painted pavement. In just over two hours, crisp white lines were laid down around the kickball fields, volleyball and basketball courts. Four square courts and basketball keys were hit with ultra-bright splashes of yellow, green, red and blue. Children are drawn to the bright colors, encouraging them to play a wider variety of games and express themselves in new ways that would never be inspired by faded parking lots.

The transformation didn’t stop with the playgrounds. Many of the volunteers were given the opportunity to revisit their childhoods, reminisce about the games they themselves played when they were in elementary school, and, perhaps most importantly, to realize the immediate effect they were going to have on the lives of so many young people.

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A boy and girl holding basketballs on a playground.
A boy and girl holding basketballs on a playground.

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