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UW Health Physicians Donate $5,000 to Help Kids Stay Cool at Playground

Madison, Wisconsin - A $5,000 contribution from a group of UW Health family medicine doctors resulted in the installation of new shade sails at the Goodman Community Center playground to encourage outdoor play during the hot days of summer.

Drs. David Rabago, Aleksandra Zgierska, Nancy Pandhi and Alexander Young pooled their money together and the Alliant Energy Foundation donated $3,500. Community donations yielded another $2,000.

The shade sails will be present throughout the playground, and the sandbox will be covered by a tent.

"There is a clear need for safe, accessible outdoor play areas that promote physical activities for children," Pandhi said. "This need is readily apparent given the rising rates of pediatric obesity, and the barriers to outdoor physical activity when it is hot outside."

UW Health doctors Nancy Pandhi, Aleksandra Zgierska and David Rabago with some kids under the new shade sails at Goodman Community Center.

The Goodman Community Center is a non-profit organization that serves 800 preschool through high school-aged youths from low-income households annually, and about 300 are expected to use the playground this summer.

Executive director Becky Steinhoff said the playground allows these kids to forget the stressors they face and use their imaginations when playing in the sandbox.

"They can cooperatively - or on their own - build castles, roads and small villages made of sand," she said. "But as beautiful as the playground is and as much as it inspires their imaginations, we were missing one very important element: shade. Without shade, children often don't want to play outside, or their play is greatly restricted with some elements actually too hot to use."

"Our goal is to prepare young people to be successful where they are now and transition them to the next chapter of their lives. We promote the importance of academics, health, wellness, and strong community engagement. The playground and the ability to play outdoors are both big factors for all of our children."


Date Published: 07/09/2013