On a cool October morning, a team of volunteers walked through the park in Brovary, Ukraine to dedicate a playground, a gift from Rockford, IL to the children of their Sister City….little did this team realize what was beginning that morning in 1994.

This morning, nearly 22 years later, a group of 60 people made their way through the streets of Montego Bay, Jamaica to the Dedication of Kids Around the World’s 500th playground! Wow….a time of rejoicing of what God has done through the combined efforts of thousands of volunteers in more than 60 countries around the world! This was also going to be a first for Kids Around the World, as we surprised our Founders, Denny and Evie Johnson, and dedicated Johnson Park Playground in their honor!

As the team arrived early to make a few last moment adjustments, they were welcomed with loud Christian Praise music, blasting through one large speaker. We were told this was the way they were wakening the children and letting them know something was happening at the playground. Slowly the children began to arrive and immediately went to the equipment to give it a “pre-dedication” test….all was good! Several local Politicians arrived as well and were anxious to be part of the service and to share with the children how loved they are….and special to have a playground like this. When the speeches were completed the team joined hands with the children and completely encircled the playgrounds and officially dedicated Johnson Park Playground with a word of prayer! It has become a tradition with KIDS, that once the “Amen” is heard the children can run to the playground that has now officially opened.

We are grateful to GameTime Inc. for their gift of a beautiful playground to the children of Jamaica and truly appreciate all the Board members and volunteers who came to make this an incredible event. Our special thanks to Embracing Orphans, our partners throughout the journey of playground #500 and to Denny and Evie, for their dream, passion and love for the kids…around the world.

You can make a qualified charitable distribution by using the "Make a Gift From My IRA" tool through your IRA custodian or consult with your employer’s human resources department to get the simple form to designate Kids Around The World (EIN #36-4007250) as a beneficiary of your retirement account.

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