a group of volunteers cheering in front of a playground

More than 200 volunteers from UnitedHealthcare, the Emerson Family YMCA and the Ferguson community joined KaBOOM! to build a kid-inspired playground at the Y. The new playground will serve the urgent need for kids to have a new, modern play space.


In June, kids from the Y put markers to paper and drew their dream playground. The playground, which includes includes two slides, multiple climbing features, ADA access ramp, learning boards and other features, is based on the kids’ drawings. It will provide the nearly 2,200 kids at the Y a safe place to play.

Volunteers constructed the playground from start to finish in less than seven hours. They mixed and poured thousands of pounds of concrete and moved enough safety surfacing to cover more than nine NBA-sized basketball courts.

“The Y is grateful to KaBOOM! and UnitedHealthcare for partnering with us to provide this additional resource to the Emerson Family YMCA that will allow us to expand our reach in the Ferguson community,” said Tim Helm, Gateway Region YMCA President and CEO. “The Y is Ferguson’s community center – the place where families and youth know they can come together for social, emotional and physical wellness. This playground will be open to the public and help ensure our Y remains that safe destination children can come to in off-school hours to feel supported, nurtured and celebrated.”  

The Emerson Family Y works to strengthen the Ferguson community through programs and activities that help people of all ages and abilities grow in spirit, mind, and body. 

“UnitedHealthcare is grateful for the opportunity to have built this playground in Ferguson,” said Jamie Bruce, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Missouri. “By giving the kids at the Y a safe place to play outdoors with their friends, they’re creating healthy habits that will last a lifetime.” 

This playground build is part of UnitedHealthcare’s “Do Good. Live Well.” employee volunteer initiative dedicated to decreasing hunger and obesity and increasing physical activity. This effort further delivers on the company’s Empowering Health commitment to expand access to care and address social determinants of health.

It is the 30th build together by UnitedHealthcare and KaBOOM! Through this partnership, they are creating PLAYces where kids feel valued and loved, and where their potential is supported, nurtured and celebrated across the country.