At Livie & Luca we are strong believers in the importance of play. We feel it should be a basic right for children to have access to safe and stimulating play spaces no matter where they live. The biggest way we feel we can make an impact is by focusing in on communities where the investment of our time, money, and ourselves will make a significant difference.
With that in mind, we became playground builders! Livie & Luca donates 10% of our profits to charity and with those funds we have been able to build/revitalize three playgrounds in underserved areas of Richmond, California over the last seven years. “We” means all our employees helped to build these playgrounds with their own hands, each one in a day!
Belding Garcia Park 2013
Partnering with the city of Richmond and Kaboom!, a playground construction company, we had a series of meetings with the community to see what THEY wanted in their neighborhood. Kids and adults came out to Design Day and drew pictures and wrote about what they wanted for their playground.
On Build Day we all came out together to bring their vision to life! What did we include in the playground? It is so important to Livie & Luca to have a playground that is accessible to all children. We opted for things like The Cozy Cocoon, a swing especially designed for those with autism spectrum disorders, and interior textures & molded-in features for tactile exploration.
Side projects include a Tot Lot, a seating wall made of wood logs, a skate park, a central picnic plaza with BBQ and picnic tables, and a re-purposed entryway (see pic below of the old structure – we are going to put legs on it, repaint it, and plant vines next to it to grow up and over!) In true L&L fashion we painted the pathway surrounding the park and brightened up the surface of the skate park with a checkerboard print! These are all in addition to the big projects such as the play structures and adjacent futsol court.
You’ll now see members of this community sitting on park benches under the trees watching their children climbing, swinging, playing soccer, and skateboarding. A recent neighborhood report has shown crime rates in the surrounding buildings have fallen by 20%. What a blast to work alongside the City of Richmond, and the community, in this revitalization effort!
Parchester Build - October 2014
The City of Richmond partnered with us to locate the community of Parchester Village, just outside the city of Richmond, because it was a place we felt could be most impacted by our efforts.
Parchester is a predominantly African American community that was built in 1949 as the first residential development in Richmond after WWII temporary housing was torn down. At first glance, Parchester feels like a place that’s been forgotten, with its high crime rate, potholed streets, and barred windows, but underneath there is a richness of spirit and memory in the long-time residents. The locals talked with great pride about the vibrant and safe town Parchester used to be, and their efforts to keep its heart beating. They believed that a beautiful park and playground could bring people out of their houses again and encourage the rebuilding of that energized and happy community they once knew.
On Build Day we added a pleasant area to picnic, tether ball courts (tether ball used to be a big deal in this community!), and dugouts for the current baseball field. Again, we made sure that the park could be a place for people of all ages, equipped with many types of sensory experiences.
John F. Kennedy Park Build - October/November 2015
At John F. Kennedy Park our team led a beautiful paint project that turned unused asphalt into a colorful mural of leaves, streams, and flowers. Community members and volunteers came out to help paint and add their own personal touches to the revived play area.
Safety, Health, Beauty, Comfort - these are what Livie & Luca stand for and these are what we set out to facilitate through these three playground builds. Stay tuned for our next project and please reach out with ideas with how we can make our communities healthier and happier places!