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Clinton Foundation partners with the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, Landscape Structures Inc., and local families to revitalize Burnett Street Park for children

Revitalization will bring the first “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” playground to Houston, with a focus on early health and language development


Houston, Texas — Today, The Clinton Foundation’s Too Small to Fail and Health Matters initiatives, along with Landscape Structures Inc., Houston City Council Member Karla Cisneros, District H, and Houston Parks and Recreation Department, unveiled a revitalization of the Burnett Street Park playground.   

The playground, located at 1500 Burnett Street in Houston’s  Near Northside community, is the 26th “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” themed playground in the country created through a partnership with Too Small to Fail. The playground is the initiative’s first early health and physical activity themed playground in the nation, featuring panels and signage with language-rich conversation prompts for parents and children to talk about healthy foods and ways to stay physically active together.

At today’s event, City of Houston Council Member Karla Cisneros, District H participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony by delivering remarks and leading a read aloud of nutrition-themed books and activities with young children and their caregivers. Too Small to Fail also distributed copies of Scholastic’s At the Farmer’s Market books for each family to take home.  The Houston Public Library was also on-site offering books to residents and children from their pop-up mobile library. 

“Playgrounds provide wonderful opportunities for parents to engage in language-rich interactions like talking, reading, and singing with their children,” said Jane Park Woo, Deputy Director of Too Small to Fail. “We are so pleased to work with the Clinton Health Matters Initiative and the City of Houston to turn everyday moments like play time into meaningful opportunities to promote children’s early health and language development.”

“It was very important for all Health Matters partners to revitalize greenspace within walking distance for families and children in Near Northside,” said Toral Sindha, Regional Director of Health Matters Initiative in Houston. “The partnership with Too Small to Fail and Landscape Structures truly enabled us to integrate a unique model which incorporates behavioral and literacy prompts in outdoor spaces. Because of this partnership — and community involvement from the University of Houston, Mayor’s Office, Houston Parks and Recreation Department, Avenue CDC, Healthy Living Matters and the Built Environment Workgroup — Burnett Street Park can serve as a model for additional neighborhood parks in Houston, and around the country.”

“The City’s Partnership with The Clinton Foundation’s Too Small to Fail and Landscape Structures is another example of what’s possible when we unite and join forces to better serve our community. The Near Northside stands to gain so much from this park’s revitalization, and it is my hope that the playground at Burnett Street Park will serve as an example for other parks to follow. This park will link playtime with the promotion of healthy living not only for the children who use it, but for their caregivers as well, and I am excited to witness the impact of this partnership on the community,” said Houston City Council Member Karla Cisneros, District H.

“We are excited to be partnering with The Clinton Foundation and Landscape Structures Inc. to provide this new playground at Burnett Street Park,” said Lisa Johnson, Interim Director Houston Parks and Recreation Department. “Play is an important part of the learning process for children and we look forward to seeing neighborhood children play and learn at Burnett Street Park.” 

Too Small to Fail, Shane’s Inspiration, and Landscape Structures first came together through the Clinton Global Initiative in 2015 to announce a new effort to build new playgrounds that promote early literacy across the country. Since then, more than 25 new and renovated playgrounds incorporate Too Small to Fail’s “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” creative materials on panels and signage with the goal of boosting children’s early brain and language development by prompting fun and enjoyable conversations, stories, and songs while parents and children play together.

The Clinton Health Matters Initiative is advancing a Blueprint for Action in the Greater Houston community with a goal of creating healthy opportunities for all by, in part, improving access to physical activity space. For this effort, the University of Houston created an assessment to identify which communities could benefit from developed or improved greenspace, and mapped it against social data and current community projects.  As a result of these strategic planning efforts and partnerships, a collective decision was made to launch the first site at Burnett Street Park.  This site is intended to serve as a model for other Houston area park sites in which positive behavior and literacy are creatively incorporated in play spaces. 

Find more helpful resources for parents and caregivers of young children at www.talkingisteaching.org. For updates about the Clinton Foundation Health Matters Initiative, visit www.clintonfoundation.org/healthmatters, and follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/ClintonFoundation, and on Twitter @ClintonFdn.



 About The Clinton Foundation

The Clinton Foundation convenes businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for girls and women, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change. Because of our work, nearly 35,000 American schools have provided kids with healthy food choices in an effort to eradicate childhood obesity; more than 150,000 farmers in Malawi, Rwanda, and Tanzania are benefiting from climate-smart agronomic training, higher yields, and increased market access; working with partners, more than 8.5 million trees and tree seedlings have been planted to strengthen ecosystems and livelihoods; over 600,000 people have been impacted through market opportunities created by social enterprises and health and wellbeing programs in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa; through the independent Clinton Health Access Initiative, over 11.5 million people in more than 70 countries have access to CHAI-negotiated prices for HIV/AIDS medications; an estimated 85 million people in the U.S. will be reached through strategic health partnerships developed across industry sectors at both the local and national level; and members of the Clinton Global Initiative community have made more than 3,600 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 435 million people in more than 180 countries.

Learn more at http://www.clintonfoundation.org, on Facebook at Facebook.com/ClintonFoundation and on Twitter @ClintonFdn.

About Too Small to Fail

Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of the Clinton Foundation and The Opportunity Institute, is leading a public awareness and action campaign to promote the importance of early brain and language development and to empower parents with tools to talk, read, and sing with their young children from birth. Today, almost 60 percent of children in the United States start kindergarten unprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language, math, and social-emotional skills. Through partnerships with pediatricians, hospitals, faith-based leaders, community based organizations, businesses, entertainment industry leaders, and others, Too Small to Fail is meeting parents where they are to help them prepare their children for success in school and beyond. Whether at the pediatrician's office or the playground, Too Small to Fail aims to make small moments big by creating opportunities for meaningful interactions anytime, anywhere. 

Learn more at www.toosmall.org. Find resources for parents and caregivers at www.talkingisteaching.org or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/2smalltofail), Twitter (@2SmalltoFail), and Instagram (www.instagram.com/2smalltofail).


About The Houston Parks and Recreation Department

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department stewards and manages over 37,851 acres of parkland and greenspace for the City of Houston and develops and implements recreational programming for citizens of all abilities. For more information on the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, call (832) 395-7022 or visit www.houstonparks.org.