On Wednesday, March 29, 2017 county residents, youth and local leaders joined Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Metro Division, and Cunningham Recreation for the second Healing Communities Through Play™ playground build at Druid Hills Park located in Charlotte, North Carolina. More than 100 volunteers worked together; police, youth and residents side by side, to build a playground. The playground build provided the opportunity for local residents and law enforcement an opportunity to find a common goal for the betterment of the community. Area teens interacted with local officers on the new fitness equipment while the younger children enjoyed the K-9 Unit. A brief ceremony took place with local leaders addressing community members and volunteers, the local school provided entertainment with children playing "beat buckets," and lunch was served. The play project was completed within the day in an area that was in great need of a place for children and their families to come and play and be active outdoors.
Healing Communities Through Play™ is a new initiative that hopes to rebuild community trust and relations between local residents and law enforcement through building a playground. The program provides opportunities for police, youth, local residents and leaders to interact, communicate, get to know one another and focus on our commonalities rather than our differences. Cunningham Recreation and Play 4 ALL are hoping this small initiative finds it way throughout the United States and starts to help in mending community relations with local law enforcement. One small step in the right direction. “It’s a small idea, but one that can hopefully change negative perceptions and have a positive impact on our local communities,” says Officer Chelsea Kidder with the CMPD.