The Curry family helps renovate and unveil new playground at East Oakland elementary school

Riley, Ayesha and Stephen Curry dedicate the newly renovated playground at Franklin Elementary School in East Oakland. – Photo: Kelly Sullivan, Getty Images

by Daphne Young

NBA and Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry, his wife Ayesha and their daughters, Ryan and Riley, helped dedicate a new playground in East Oakland on Saturday, June 12.

The Currys, along with Eat. Learn. Play. and other community partners, unveiled the new playground, multi-sport court and garden at the Franklin Elementary School. Steph Curry is co-founder of the Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation.

What brought them to East Oakland? “To see just how fresh and new this place is for the kids to come and play and enjoy themselves and spark some creativity and inspiration,” said Curry. “It’s pretty awesome.”

Ayesha, Ryan and Stephen Curry work in the beautiful new garden at Franklin Elementary School in Oakland during the official dedication of the school’s newly renovated playground. – Photo: Kelly Sullivan, Getty Images

Last November, Curry visited the school and announced during an assembly that a new play space was being built for kids at the Franklin Elementary School. Since then, Franklin students sketched their dream playground and those sketches were incorporated into the playground’s final design. 

The week of June 8-12, volunteers came together at Franklin Elementary School to renovate the new playground.

On June 12, Stephen and Ayesha Curry, along with their daughters, Riley and Ryan, joined children, parents, and teachers at Franklin Elementary, as well as representatives from KABOOM! and CarMax, to put the finishing touches on the playground and court. 

Research supports that play is vital for children’s emotional, social and physical health.

“It’s been really great to hit on all of our pillars in one place,” said Ayesha Curry. “We have the garden and the sensory aspect of that garden, where the kids will be able to eat and learn at the same time. There’s an opportunity to do educational courses out there, and the play aspect with this amazing playground that KABOOM! has been so amazing to install. It’s been just incredible,” said Ayesha Curry.

The Oakland Unified School District partnered with Stephen and Ayesha Curry, The CarMax Foundation and KABOOM! to help revamp the Franklin school’s playground and now it has a beautiful new garden, a multi-sport court, and the playground is newly decorated and a safer play space for kids.

The revamped schoolyard includes high-quality play structures, created with input by the Franklin students themselves, providing safe play options for students of all ages.

Children checking out Eat. Learn. Play.’s Franklin Elementary School Playground, Court and Garden Project will be counting the days until in-person school finally resumes in the fall. – Photo: Kelly Sullivan, Getty Images

The overall goal is to provide more access to play for all children in Oakland. Research supports that play is vital for children’s emotional, social and physical health. 

“This has been a challenging year for our students and teachers, but they have been resilient as they navigate a new way of learning and teaching virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lusa Lai, principal of Franklin Elementary School. “We are looking forward to coming together again and welcoming them back with a new play space, multi-sport court and garden for all to enjoy.”

Too many kids in America, though, have no safe place to play. The isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates, in dramatic effect, how valuable play spaces truly are, not only as community gathering places, but as essential civic infrastructure that make neighborhoods strong places where kids can thrive.

In the fall, when students return to in-person learning at Franklin Elementary, the Oakland School District will officially open the space for kids to enjoy. 

NBA Warriors guard Stephen Curry is joined on the playground by kids, parents, design partners and representatives from the Oakland School District as they put the finishing touches on the new play space on Saturday, June 12, 2021. – Photo: Kelly Sullivan, Getty Images

The designers of the playground, KABOOM!, team up with communities nationwide to build incredible play spaces that give every kid the chance to thrive physically, socially and emotionally. Representatives at the event say KABOOM! is committed to ending play space inequity for kids and communities across the country.

Daphne Young is the new Education Reporter at the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper. The Chicago native began her journalism career as an intern at the Chicago Daily Defender, once the largest Black newspaper in the country.  Since then, she’s covered breaking news, crime, politics, education, entertainment and sports at several radio and TV stations around the country: WBBM-AM, WSB-AM, WBGO, WIOD, WSFA-TV, KERO-TV3, KESQ-TV3, KDWN and iHeart Radio SF. Daphne is also a contributing producer for the environmental podcast Climate One. Daphne and her family live in the Bay Area. Contact her at education@sfbayview.com