Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The youngest learners in North Lawndale have access to state-of-the-art playground experiences, thanks to equipment donated to the Carole Robertson Center for Learning at 3701 W. Ogden by Play Mart, Inc., and Next Generation Play. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at the Center on Wednesday, June 15, at 10 a.m. 

In keeping with Play Mart’s mission to provide children a safe, environmentally friendly, and creative place in which to play and grow, the company periodically chooses one project to receive a donation. When their Chicago-area distributor, Next Generation Play, suggested the Carole Robertson Center for Learning, it seemed like a perfect match. Next Generation Play owner, Tabitha Sani, saw there was a need for playground equipment at the Carole Robertson Center‘s North Lawndale campus and suggested that the organizations work together to design a new play area for the children. 

“At Carole Robertson Center for Learning, we understand that play is the ’work’ of infants and toddlers as they discover the world and themselves,” says Sonja Crum Knight, the Center’s Chief Programs and Impact Officer. “We believe that all children deserve a strong start in life, so it’s important that the best play and learning environments are available to children in all communities, regardless of zip code or income level. Play Mart playground equipment helps us provide these rich play environments.” 


“We appreciate the generosity of Play Mart and Next Generation Play in making this playground possible,” said Michele Black, Senior Director of Programs and Impact Operations. “We truly value the ongoing partnership and friendship we’ve developed while working together on this project. What an amazing benefit we’ve been able to bring to the children.” 

Play Mart design staff collaborated with Next Generation Play and Carole Robertson Center administrative personnel to create the perfect courtyard play area. Play Mart was able to donate several pieces from their Nature of Early Play line of playground equipment for infants and toddlers, and Next Generation Play donated the installation services. 

The Carole Robertson Center has also purchased Play Mart playground equipment for its North Lawndale and Little Village locations.  

“We are honored to be able to provide safe, educational, and fun playground equipment for the children at Carole Robertson Center for Learning,” notes Rebecca Beach, Play Mart CEO. “We have worked with many Head Start and other child care facilities in urban and underserved areas of the country. There is such a need for safe play spaces for these children.” 


About Carole Robertson Center for Learning
The Carole Robertson Center for Learning is one of Chicago’s largest early childhood education and youth development organizations, serving diverse populations across 27 communities, with a significant presence in the North Lawndale, Little Village, and Albany Park communities. Our programs reach
approximately 2,000 children at every stage of development, from prenatal to age 17. Our mission is to educate, enrich, and empower children and families. Since its inception in 1976, the Center has worked to honor the life and memory of Carole Robertson who, together with her friends Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, and Denise McNair, was killed in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

About Play Mart
Play Mart is a woman-owned / family-owned small business that manufactures playground equipment in rural Somerset, KY. In addition to providing jobs in our local community, we offer “green” products and ship to customers in the United States and all over the world. Our products are 100% made in the USA, and manufactured primarily from 100% recycled materials, utilizing our proprietary formula of Recycled Structural PlasticTM, slip-resistant materials, and stainless steel hardware. Play Mart playsets are low maintenance, graffiti resistant, will not rust, splinter, fade or chip, and safe for children.

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Since 1976, the Carole Robertson Center for Learning has been dedicated to educating, enriching, and empowering children and families through comprehensive child and family development programs.