With a flick of the wrist and the slam of a Frisbee, the Heim Elementary Playground Committee hopes to raise money for a new playground by holding the first-ever Kan Jam FUN-raiser. Hundreds of children, teens, adults and families participated in the event at Sports Performance Park at the Eastern Hills Mall.
Teams of two players will faced off against each other for 15 minutes of play. Once the game ends, the names of the contestants on the winners’ team will be added to a Winners Raffle. The members of the teams that lose will be added to the Second Place Raffle, and are also eligible to win prizes. Prizes include an XBOX 360 with Kinect, plus two flat-screen televisions.
The Heim Elementary Playground Committee is raising money to build a wheelchair/walker-accessible playground. The Committee has already installed a new swing set at the school on Heim Road in Williamsville, and the remaining playground equipment has also been purchased. The Committee is now working on raising the remaining funds to purchase a soft, poured-in-place surface that will allow all students and teachers to access the playground.
Heim Elementary School’s veteran kindergarten teacher, Maureen McGloin, is president of the Heim Elementary Committee and a person with cerebral palsy. She knows first-hand that the existing playground’s surface of pebble-like pea gravel is difficult to navigate.
“I have a very difficult time walking on our current playground surface because it is not leveled, and it is difficult to maintain balance when I try to walk on the stones because my feet seem to sink into the stones as I walk,” says McGloin. “For adults or children who need the assistance of a wheelchair or crutches, this surface is virtually impossible.”
“Giving our children access to a playground that is designed for ALL children will level the playing field so all children can participate and utilize all aspects of our playground,” McGloin says. “We do not want children to be hindered by obstacles that can be easily rectified. Every child should be given the opportunity and freedom to interact with, and enjoy, this playground in a comfortable atmosphere for all – without any barriers.”
Heim Elementary’s and Heim Middle School’s student populations include physically handicapped children. (Heim Middle School is across the parking lot from Heim Elementary.) The playground is also open to the entire community, and the soft, new surface would benefit children of all abilities by being much easier on their knees.
The cost of the playground and the special surface totals $175,000. The Playground Committee still needs to raise about $60,000. As part of its policy, the Williamsville Central School District does not fund playgrounds, and the tough economic climate plus the State’s fiscal troubles has made it challenging to raise sufficient funds. Still, McGloin says the committee’s efforts to raise money creatively is worth it.
“Although it will take a little longer to raise the money for this surface, it is an integral part of our playground, and one on which I am not willing to compromise,” McGloin says.
To learn more, please visit our Web site at www.playgroundfund.com