SHS-Kids Around the World Playground Sponsorship Letter April 20 2017

Spring 2017


    The community of Rockford, Illinois, is well known for its top ranking child and family friendly spaces and welcoming parks. In 1994 Kids Around the World (KATW), a local 501 ©(3) nonprofit organization launched its work by installing its first playground in Brovary, Ukraine. Over the years residents have continued this endeavor, sharing the joy and excitement of more than 500 playgrounds in over 70 countries. Locations are chosen based on the needs of children in the community it will serve.

In the late 1800’s Sweden, and especially the island of Öland, experienced severe hardships causing many to seek new opportunities in the United States. Most of those leaving Öland (from the harbor of Borgholm) found their way to Rockford where their impact on that city continues. Today, Borgholm has become home to a large number of refugees, significant for a Swedish community of its size. The impact is heavy - new schools and social services have to be built to provide for the children and families. It is the intention of the Swedish HIstorical Society of Rockford to place a KATW playground as an assistance to those needs and a symbol of peace and friendship between between all cultures.

Recognizing the strong historic link between our cities, and the desire to assist children in learning about immigration, adaptation, and assimilation through play, our Sister City partnership continues to strive in making this playground a reality. Both cities felt the loss of a prime contributor to these concepts when our Rockford and Borgholm friend, John C. Nelson passed away just before the celebration of Borgholm’s 200 year anniversary. John tirelessly connected the two cities and the playground will be named in honor of him.


    The budget for this project is $75,000, which includes a large playground, shipping, a trained playground installer to lead the team and all of the supplies we will need to complete the project. Our Swedish partners have identified the location for the new playground, and will contribute onsite equipment needs, permits, local volunteers to work alongside the Rockford team, and the concrete needed for the footings. Plus they guarantee a wonderful welcome to our Sister City.

Sponsorship Opportunity:

    Donations may be made directly to KATW (Kids Around the World)

Volunteer Opportunity:

    Travel to Sweden to take part in the installation in late summer of 2017

Volunteer sign-ups will be available on

    Volunteer cost will include lodging, meals, and ground transportation

    Air travel will not be included, but can be coordinated by KATW

To learn more, contact Melanie Derr:    815-229-8731

Swedish Historical Society of Rockford    404 S. Third Street       Rockford, IL    815-963-5559