Bridgeton, NC – Today, more than 200 volunteers from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), the Town of Bridgeton and the surrounding community joined KaBOOM! to build a kid-inspired playground at Vernon Blades Park. The new playground will serve the urgent need for kids to have a great, safe place to play.
In April, neighborhood kids put crayons to paper and drew their dream playground. The playground was designed based off these drawings and the community came together to pick the final design. The new play space includes a zip line, a twisty slide, a four-person see-saw and more.
Volunteers constructed the playground from start to finish in less than six 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 new playground will serve thousands of kids in Craven County over its lifetime.
“Play is the business of childhood and is essential to the physical, cognitive, creative, social and emotional development of every kid. It’s how kids build strong muscles and healthy bodies; it’s how they learn problem-solving, conflict resolution and creativity; it’s how they make friends and build strong bonds with adults. Play is critical to a kid’s ability to thrive,” said Raymond Parker, a resident of Bridgeton.
“Blue Cross NC and KaBoom! have worked together for more than 10 years to build 13 playgrounds across the state that benefit children in underserved communities. Through this partnership, safe havens are being created where kids feel valued and loved and their potential is supported, nurtured and celebrated,” said Reagan Greene Pruitt, VP of Marketing and Community Engagement. 
In 2019, Blue Cross NC and KaBoom! are continuing to expand access to play across the state. In addition to this playground in Bridgeton, the organizations also built a playground at the Lumbee Tribe Cultural Center in Maxton, NC on April 24.
About the Town of Bridgeton
The Town of Bridgeton is a small, rural community located on the eastern shore of the Neuse River. Bridgeton is one of the smallest communities in Craven County with a population of approximately 441 residents. Bridgeton means beautiful, gracious Southern living nestled on the eastern shore of the Neuse River, sharing displays of lavish sunsets. Vernon Blades Park overlooks the Neuse River and hosts family and community activities, including the much anticipated 4th annual Blueberry Festival. The Blueberry Festival draws thousands of visitors from across Craven County and beyond. 
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities by providing innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.9 million members, including approximately 1.1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at All other marks are the property of their respective owners. Follow us on social media at, and and join the conversation.
About KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – especially those living in poverty – the childhood they deserve through great, safe places to play. KaBOOM! inspires communities to make play the easy choice and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of PLAYces. KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build or improve more than 17,000 playspaces, engage over 1.5 million volunteers and serve nearly 10 million kids. To learn why play matters for all kids, visit and join the conversation at, and #playmatters #PLAYceforKids