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updated: 6/29/2017 7:44 PM

Volunteers build playground for North Chicago school

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  • Video: Volunteers build playground

  • Community volunteer Pat Mazza, right, and Petty Ofc. Pete Peterson join other volunteers to attach monkey bars for a new playground Thursday at A.J. Katzenmaier Academy in North Chicago. Employees from AbbVie, sailors from Naval Station Great Lakes and local community members joined KaBOOM! to work on the project.

      Community volunteer Pat Mazza, right, and Petty Ofc. Pete Peterson join other volunteers to attach monkey bars for a new playground Thursday at A.J. Katzenmaier Academy in North Chicago. Employees from AbbVie, sailors from Naval Station Great Lakes and local community members joined KaBOOM! to work on the project.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Incoming Superintendent John Price of North Chicago School District 187, in orange gloves, joins volunteers from AbbVie to install a piece of playground equipment Thursday for a new playground at A.J. Katzenmaier Academy in North Chicago.

      Incoming Superintendent John Price of North Chicago School District 187, in orange gloves, joins volunteers from AbbVie to install a piece of playground equipment Thursday for a new playground at A.J. Katzenmaier Academy in North Chicago.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • More than 400 volunteers built a new playground Thursday at A.J. Katzenmaier Academy in North Chicago. Employees from AbbVie, sailors from Naval Station Great Lakes and local community members joined KaBOOM! to work on the project.

      More than 400 volunteers built a new playground Thursday at A.J. Katzenmaier Academy in North Chicago. Employees from AbbVie, sailors from Naval Station Great Lakes and local community members joined KaBOOM! to work on the project.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • AbbVie employees Jeff Meyer of Vernon Hills, left, and Cindy Hsu of Naperville work on a shade structure as more than 400 volunteers built a new playground Thursday at A.J. Katzenmaier Academy in North Chicago.

      AbbVie employees Jeff Meyer of Vernon Hills, left, and Cindy Hsu of Naperville work on a shade structure as more than 400 volunteers built a new playground Thursday at A.J. Katzenmaier Academy in North Chicago.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • AbbVie team leader Pam Schroeder of Burlington, Wisconsin smiles while she plants flowers Thursday for a new playground at A.J. Katzenmaier Academy in North Chicago.

      AbbVie team leader Pam Schroeder of Burlington, Wisconsin smiles while she plants flowers Thursday for a new playground at A.J. Katzenmaier Academy in North Chicago.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

 
by Gilbert R. Boucher II
gboucher@dailyherald.com

It was a sea of teal in the field behind A.J. Katzenmaier Academy on Thursday as volunteers made like worker ants constructing swings, slides and climbing structures for a new playground at the North Chicago school.

Over five hours, more than 350 volunteers from AbbVie joined members of KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit organization that helps communities build playgrounds, and almost 40 sailors from Naval Station Great Lakes to create the playing area.

"This is an elementary school that was in desperate need of a new playground that was appropriate for their kids," said Melissa Walsh, vice president of the AbbVie Foundation. "We are so excited to provide something that will really be a resource for the community."

Parent volunteers and community members also assisted on the new playground, as volunteers poured cement, spread mulch, hammered nails, built tables and benches, and raised the playground pieces into place.

"I came in and surveyed the whole scene all at once and it was overwhelming. It's amazing to see so many volunteers and doing so much work in one day," John Price, the incoming superintendent of North Chicago School District 187, said after helping move a piece of climbing bars into place. "The energy that AbbVie brings to a project like this is invaluable."

The project was part of AbbVie's fourth annual Week of Possibilities volunteering program to partner with nonprofit organizations and help the underserved. This year, more than 6,000 of AbbVie employees will volunteer in more than 50 countries.

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