Rays team with KaBoom! to build playground at CASA facility
Rays team president Brian Auld and manager Kevin Cash were among 150 team staff on hand Friday partnering with the KaBoom! organization to build a playground at the CASA - Community Action Stops Abuse - domestic violence facility in St. Petersburg.
This was the sixth playground the Rays have built around the Tampa Bay area under a program Auld brought with him from his days as a teacher in California.
The Rays personnel - including former players Esteban Yan, Dan Wheeler, Rich Thompson, Jason Romano and Travis Phelps - mixed concrete, assembled playground equipment and spread mulch at the facility, which houses more than 100, including about 50 children who will be surprised when they return from school today.
"I've seen how firsthand how happy this can make kids,'' Auld said. "And when you talk about doing something with CASA, you're talking about kids who are at a really difficult stage of their lives. They've got a great facility here that CASA does an incredible job maintaining but it's noticeably absent of a great place for kids to play. Right now there are 50 kids here, there could be more in the future. When they come back and see this they are all going to be a little happier, and we all feel great about it. It's awesome.''
Noting the impressive turnout of staff, Auld said team Human Resources vice president Bill Wiener and HR senior director Jennifer Tran deserve credit for organizing what has become an annual event.
Cash, involved for the first time, was impressed. "It's a great way to connect with the community,'' he said. "You look at the outpouring of support that the organization and all of its employees have shown spending their Friday out here, it's an impressive group.''
CASA, which keeps the location of its site private for security reasons, has been providing services to children, women and men dealing with domestic violence since 1997, with services including "a safe refuge, crisis intervention, advocacy, prevention, professional training, outreach and community education to end domestic violence.''