About The Martha C. Young Community Playground
In the fall of 2012, the Prince Hall Alumni Foundation was granted the opportunity, by an organization called KaBoom, to create and install a community playground. PHAF was able to recruit roughly 350 community volunteers of all ages for this breathtaking event. The level of community unity was invigorating, everyone worked hard, and the finished project resulted in an abundance of community pride, and a beautiful playground. The playground is dedicated to Ms. Martha C. Young, a devoted member of the West Oak Lane community and the First Principal of Prince Hall School. Ms. Young – affectionately known as “Marty” – worked tirelessly with community leaders, parents and the school district to not only open the school, but to design the school’s building 40 years ago. During her time as principal, Marty would walk through the neighborhood, forging strong relationships with parents, families, local business owners and political leaders. Marty still lives in the community, and is a founding member of the Prince Hall Alumni Foundation.
The Martha C. Young Community Playground plays a vital role in the West Oak Lane neighborhood by providing a safe place for the children here to play. This neighborhood is home to several schools and a number of early childhood centers that serve youth ranging in age up and through 8th grade. It’s our hope that the community will benefit from this safe haven.
The playground is also critical in promoting wellness and healthy lifestyles in the West Oak Lane community. Philadelphia has one of the highest rates of obesity in the country, and obesity-related diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, disproportionately impact people of color. Exercise and healthy eating is the way to offset these conditions. By providing our youth a safe place to play, we are encouraging them and their families to sit less and move more.
The Martha C. Young Community Playground also provides an out-door classroom to expose students of the SHINE II After-school program to sustainable practices. The playground will be the canvas for an up and coming “STEMulating” Community Gardening Program.