JetBlue Airways (www.jetblue.com) said it's committed to building three children's playgrounds in areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
The airline said dozens of cities in New York and New Jersey are still struggling to rebuild and with essential infrastructure such as hospitals, schools and roads being the primary focus, playgrounds and play spaces take a lower priority.
Following natural disasters, "play" becomes critical to create a sense of normalcy and provide an emotional outlet for children, a JetBlue press release said.
The first playground to be rebuilt will be Magnolia Playground in Long Beach, NY, on May 18. Located in Nassau County, Long Beach experienced significant damage to its shoreline and infrastructure.
More than 200 volunteers from JetBlue, the City of Long Beach, Surf for All, KaBOOM! and residents of the local community are expected to come out to help build the new play space at Magnolia Playground. The new playground's design is based on drawings created by children who participated in a Design Day event in March.
Two more playground sites selected for rebuilding will be announced later this spring, JetBlue said in a press statement.
"Through our longstanding partnership with KaBOOM!, we work together to create playgrounds in neighborhoods that are lacking resources," said Michael Stromer, vice president of customer connections marketing at JetBlue Airways. "This year, we are concentrating our efforts to rebuild play spaces that were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy."
He said Long Beach and Nassau County are right in the airline's backyard. It has many crewmembers and customers who live there and have been directly impacted by the storm.
Stromer said: "Rebuilding in these communities is particularly important to JetBlue. We are simply supporting our neighbors."
Magnolia Playground is the 17th playground build by KaBOOM! in partnership with JetBlue. The two have worked together over the last seven years to create safe play spaces for children in underserved neighborhoods and areas rebuilding following natural disasters.