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With a new look, and some updated equipment, Alyssa Delorme says her four-year-old daughter, Claire could remember the park she plays in every Saturday, with the same fondness her mom does.

Alyssa, 32, recalls running home from school each day, dropping her backpack in her mothers foyer and dashing back out to the neighborhood playground to meet her friends.

We had swings and a jungle gym and a teeter totter [see saw], I dont think theyre allowed to have those anymore. But we had a lot of fun playing there. Our park was our second home.

Alyssa said she remembers shiny, bright-coloured swing sets and monkey bars; green plastic benches, and picnic tables.

After twenty years, she says the monkey bars have become so rusty they had to be removed, the benches and picnic tables are covered in graffiti and weathered from years of exposure to the elements, and the swing set is down to two swings. She said its heartbreaking to see her former stomping grounds in such disrepair.

I just want Claire to have a safe play space like I did. I want her to enjoy the outdoors as much as me and my friends did, she explained.

The park is clean, but you know, it needs things.

She hopes thats where the BCAA Play Here Initiative can help.

BCAA has a long history of protecting British Columbians, on and off the road. The goal of the Play Here Initiative is to continue this tradition by giving children in BC safer places to play.

Created by BCAA, the Play Here Initiative is an annual program that encourages community groups across the province to nominate a play space a park, playground, sporting facility or an after-school study area for example in need of repair or refurbishment for an award of up to $100,000 toward the spaces revitalization from BCAA and its partners, with the goal of being able to make it a safer, better place for kids to play.

The organization has offered community-based programs geared toward protecting kids for decades. Some of the most popular community programs include:

  • The Community Child Car Seat Program, which sees thousands of new child car seats donated to those who may have gone without, over the last four years;
  • Car Seat Training, which includes educating hundreds of people a year across B.C. on the proper use and installation of child car seats;
  • School Safety Patrol, which offers free tools and resources to B.C. elementary schools to implement a patrol and train children to help one another cross the street safely in school zones;
  • And initiatives to promote neighbourhood safety, including giving BCAA Members free Slow Down/Kids Playing signs to encourage slower, safer driving in residential areas, as well as distributing thousands of reflective armbands to ensure kids are seen by drivers while out trick-or-treating on Halloween.

Nominations are currently being accepted and will be shortlisted by a panel of judges. Finalists will be announced in late May, at which time the public will be given the opportunity to vote for the community they feel is most in need of the refurbishments. The winning project will be announced in July.

BCAA serves one in three B.C. households with industry-leading products including home, auto and travel insurance, roadside assistance, Evo Car Share and full auto service at BCAAs Auto Service Centres.

To learn more about BCAA or to nominate a play space in your community visit BCAAPlayHere.com