A unique project in Sylvan Lake is currently up for an Aviva Community Fund grant.
The grant includes an online voting process and the Beacon Hill Playground Fundraising Committee is asking for resident’s assistance by participating in the voting process.
Beacon Hill Elementary, a new school opening in Sylvan Lake on Nov. 15th, will house between 300-500 students between pre-k and grade 6. When the school opens in November there will be no playground for the students. Provincial funding does not pay for playgrounds, which means that the parent council will need to raise the money for the playground.
The planned playground was designed to be highly accessible and offers inclusion play and will not only be a necessity for the school but will also provide a play space for children in Sylvan Lake to grow, socialize and learn the importance of physical activity while having fun explained Jennifer Belanger, Fundraising Committee Chair.
“In order to be fully accessible it is designed with rubber matting, a wheel chair accessible teeter totter, buddy benches, Freedom and Disc Swings etc. The goal is for everyone to have fun regardless of age or ability,” said Belanger. “Our committees’ goal is to raise $155,000 which will be added to the $125,000 in Government Matching Grants. It is because of our hard work, dedication and our generous community that we have raised over $40,000 in just four months. “Please join up to make our new playground for the students, residents and visitors to Beacon Hill Elementary School.”
Fourteen days remain in the voting process and organizers are asking those who have already voted to reach out to the community around them and encourage others to vote as well.
Belanger explained the committee hopes to have all funds in place for the playground as soon as possible in hopes of getting a playground erected as early as September 2017.
“There will be no playground this year, so the earliest it will be installed is for the start of the next school year,” she stated. “If we were to win this grant, it would mean we would be able to fully fund the rest of our playground.
“This would be an amazing piece to the project because we would almost be able to stop our fundraising. We know with the way the economy and life is right now, it will be challenging to fund raise the rest.”
Belanger added Beacon Hill will be a brand new school in a brand new community.
“This side of town is going to see the most growth over the next few years. As parents, we sat down and thought about what we wanted and asked ourselves how the community is going to grow,” she explained on the reason the Committee chose to go with a specialized inclusive playground. “When we were looking at different playgrounds we decided we wanted all children to have access to the playground and what they need to play in an inclusive environment.”
“With everything happening in the world around us, play is very important to children. Kids don’t spend as much time playing as they used to and yet it’s such an important piece of childhood and we wanted to make sure our school had what it needed to accommodate that growth.”
So far the committee has raised just over $40,000 primarily from their highly successful online auction initiative, which will come to a conclusion at the end of October in order for the committee to refocus their efforts on corporate sponsorships.
In addition, the Beacon Hill Playground Fundraising Committee will be hosting a Christmas Market at the Alliance Community Church from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on November 5. A variety of vendors will be present and the market will also highlight performances from Beacon Hill Elementary students. Activities will be available for attendees and their families with taco in a bag being sold. All funds raised through the market will go directly to the playground fund.
“It’s a great spot for people to come and learn about the playground, see what we’re doing,” said Belanger, adding the committee is also desperately in need of volunteers. “We are really looking for volunteers right now – whether some one can give us 15 minutes of volunteer time or an hour week, right now anything will help as we have so much ground to cover in such a short period of time in order to get this playground built by September.”
Visit www.avivacommunityfund.org/voting/project/view/16-90 to vote for the Beacon Hill Elementary School Playground project. Each voter is elligible to vote 18 times, with all votes being able to be cast at the same time.
“We just really want as many people to vote as possible,” said Belanger. “If you’ve already voted we would really appreciate you taking the time to reach out to those around you – spouses, friends, family, your parents, neighbours or co-workers and show them how to vote as well.”
For more information or to volunteer with the committee, contact Jennifer Belanger at email@example.com.