Grant, volunteers bring new playground to life
Jason Epp of Hickory Lane Farms shovels gravel as Jacob Epp (right) and Mike Epp (left) work with volunteers Abby Gansheimer (second from left) and her mother, Susan Tillman, in the front flower garden during the Pennies for Playground Community Build Day at Edgewood Elementary School on March 24. The school got a facelift, which included a new playground. Buy This Photo
When Edgewood Elementary School principal Colene Thomas first heard what PTO president Sara Nichols had planned, she was thrilled.
Nichols wanted to seek a grant from the Dr Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM! for the Edgewood playground.
She teamed up with Greg Stubbs, Marysville Exempted Village School District administrative assistant, to fill out an applicatin for the Dr Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM! Let’s Play Design Contest. Dr Pepper Snapple received 120 entries nationwide and selected 10 finalists and communities to compete for votes online.
The Edgewood playground project is among the top five, each of which won a $15,000 grant.
Plans for the project totaled $24,000. So the students pitched in with a “Pennies for Playground” campaign and raised $1,000. The other $8,000 came from community donations.
“It really was a community effort and not just a school-based effort,” Thomas said.
On March 24, 50 volunteers stopped by throughout the day to help install new playground equipment, paint the entrance to the school drive and put in some landscaping.
Thomas said people donated meals, drinks, medical services and construction experience.
She would like to build on the idea.
“It doesn’t always need to happen with a grant,” she said. “We could have these community days once a year at any school to spruce up our schools. It could be an annual gathering.”
As academic demands on students increase, Thomas said the school playground is more important than ever.
“It is as important as the academic piece,” she said. “They need that to develop their social skills, large motor skills, and to get the energy out so they can focus on the curriculum. It’s as equal and we have to remember that.”
New equipment on the playground includes seven slides, a tic-tac-toe board and a “Horton Hears A Who” toy.
When the last volunteer left on the community work day and the playground sat ready to welcome students Thomas said one word came to mind: “Grateful.”