Whittier reaches $100,000 playground fundraising goal

wh-jaguar-playground1-770x400A few years ago, a group of moms gathered outside Whittier School, watching their children play. They observed the kids jumping over small, odd-shaped bars, and they speculated what purpose the bars served. After a little research, they learned that the bars once functioned as teeter-totter bases.

Over the years, Whittier’s playground has received regular safety maintenance and minor changes, such as the removal of the teeter-totters. However, the playground itself is decades old and was built when Whittier’s enrollment was half its current size.

This discovery prompted the moms and Whittier PTA to launch a four-year planning and fundraising effort to upgrade Whittier’s primary playground. They requested and received support from the Board of Education, District leaders and Whittier parents. They collaborated with the community, including children, to determine the best design for the playground.

“The PTA distributed a ‘draw your ideal playground’ sheet to all the students, and we had an overwhelming response,” said PTA Playground Committee Chair Pamela McGinn. “After tallying the children’s choices, the top seven items were incorporated into the plan. Although over the top items like a petting zoo and fountain were on the list, it was interesting to see that most of the kids drew pictures with slides, swings, climbers and monkey bars.”

The PTA intends the new playground to provide traditional playground equipment as well as new physical challenges and activities for children to enjoy. The Committee spent two years researching the playground’s concept and determining a budget. They spent another two years fundraising for the $100,000 needed, through their Savers drive, Rotary Fest chocolate sale, Penny Wars, Whittier spring fundraiser and other activities.

“It’s been a long road of research, planning and fundraising but after about five years we think we’ve hit our goal,” McGinn said. “Our hope is the playground will be replaced in the summer of 2017.”

With the money raised, the District will soon open the bidding process for the playground’s installation. The Whittier PTA will continue to accept donations for the playground through Dec. 31, 2016. For more information or to donate, please visit www.whittierschoolpta.org.