Now that fall has arrived Flint families are hitting area playgrounds after school. For many, they are an oasis and a safe place for kids to let loose and run off pent up energy that builds throughout the school day. For parents and friends they are a great place to mix and mingle, share information and get to know one another.
It’s a typical sight in most communities, but in Flint many playgrounds are in need of basic repair and refurbishment – a total of 36 playgrounds to meet the needs of its nearly 100,000 residents, according to National Recreation and Park Association standards and Michigan Department of Natural Resources planning guidelines. In some neighborhoods there simply isn’t a playground at all.
Thanks to efforts of many local Flint supporters, two playgrounds at Hasselbring Park and Broome Park dropped off that list and are happily teaming with families today.
Around 80 percent of the $150,000 cost for the playgrounds came from the Flint Child Health and Development Fund (often called FlintKids.org) and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint with support from the United Way of Genesee County, The Links Inc.-Flint Area Chapter, Make An Impact Foundation, Keep Genesee County Beautiful, the city of Flint, and Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.
Local media partners FOX66, NBC25 and CW46 and volunteers from all across the city and county helped build the playgrounds. The partners are delighted with the results.
People build relationships with each other around gathering places that are warm and inviting. Having them front and center in Flint’s neighborhoods is critical, according to Jamie Gaskin, the CEO of United Way of Genesee County and Flint resident, who got area kids involved in envisioning their future playground earlier this summer.
Now they are playing on the place they helped to create.
These playgrounds are now the centerpiece of neighborhoods and a place where families can build many happy memories, says Isaiah M. Oliver, president of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.
“Children needed a place nearby to play and now they have it,” says Tina Muschket, Impact Manager at Make An Impact. Although the organization is located in North Carolina, its founder Dale Gillmore is a Flint native who remains committed to local efforts that positively impact children and youth in Flint and statewide.
“I’m so thrilled we are entering different communities. We’re excited to take this Michigan-wide,” she says of the organization’s aim to build more playgrounds throughout the state in 2018.
Make an Impact was established in 2010 to serve communities in North Carolina and Michigan with the goal to reach more children nationwide.
“We want to empower individuals, corporations and communities to make an impact,” says Muschket.
To become a playground champion or to learn more, visit http://www.makeanimpactnow.org.
Lead photo courtesy of Make an Impact