RACINE — After months of fundraising, donations and planning, a new playground area was installed on Saturday at Southern Elementary.
More than 30 volunteers spent hours on Saturday turning an empty piece of ground into an American Ninja Warrior inspired playground for the students.
“I am so grateful for all of the volunteers that helped on our build day. It was a very successful day,” said project organizer and elementary physical education teacher Heather Dailey-Johnson.
The months of fundraising and the hours of volunteer work were made worth it when the kids arrived on the playground on Monday.
“Watching the students this afternoon (Monday) see the playground for the first time was like Christmas morning. My heart is so full,” said Dailey-Johnson. “I would like to say, thank you to each person, business, and our entire community who has supported our project for the last 9 months. There are many children that you have made and impact in their lives.
In addition to the local fundraising and donations, the school received a $15,000 Let’s Play Community Construction Grant to assist with the purchase of the equipment. As part of the grant, the new equipment was required to be built with volunteer workers.
“I was very impressed with how smooth the build went. This summer we receive the Let’s Play, KaBoom! to complete the fundraising portion for our playground. The grant is a community build grant, meaning our community would actually build the playground. We also had an actual supervisor guiding our build. I am so pleased and would suggest any organization to apply for this grant,” said Dailey-Johnson.
In addition to the grant funding, a Color Run fundraiser was held in the spring, along with numerous business and individual donations to the project.
The playground project began last year with the decision to create a new playground which can not only be used by second and third grade students, but by sports teams, community members and others.
What will make this equipment unique in comparison to the other playground equipment is that it is geared toward fitness, climbing and agility.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.