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.