Speaker Urges Students to Make an Impact

Darrell Hammond is no stranger to New Orleans. Since Hurricane Katrina, the CEO of Kaboom! Playgrounds has been to the Gulf South several times to oversee the construction of playgrounds in communities affected by the storm. On Monday (Nov. 2) Hammond was back, speaking to members of the Tulane community about how to make an impact through social entrepreneurship.

Darrell Hammond, CEO of Kaboom! Playgrounds, challenges Tulane students to fully engage in the opportunities they have for civic engagement. (Photo by Ryan Rivet)

Hammond's appearance marked the first of four lectures in the NewDay Social Entrepreneurship Distinguished Speakers Series, which invites national figures engaged in social entrepreneurship to share their own experiences with students and the community.

Kaboom! was born of Hammond's experience as a community organizer responding to the needs of children living in public housing in Chicago.

Now in its 14th year, Kaboom! has built more than 1,900 playgrounds across the country with the help of more than 500,000 volunteers and donations estimated at $180 million.

Hammond urged the audience to consider a career with a social impact.

"I ask people, particularly the students, to think about the non-profit sector not only as a do-good place, but a real place you can build an incredible career and make a great life," Hammond said.

He discussed how philanthropy can enrich the mission of corporations.

"We need to get back in it for the cause, not the marketing, both as individuals … and as organizations," Hammond said. "If nobody ever hears about Kaboom!, but Kaboom! is able to do good work, I've done my part."

He urged students to recognize the opportunity available to them in New Orleans.

"You're in an amazing point in time, in an amazing place, in an incredible community," Hammond said. "Use this opportunity to experiment and experience. Somewhere down the road it's going to have a profound impact on what you choose to do with your life."