The addition of parks and play spaces can have a transformational effect on an entire community.
For example, Eyes On Me, Inc., which serves the Brookshire, Texas, community and surrounding areas through their facility, The Hangar Unity Center, was awarded a grant by Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) and national non-profit KaBOOM! towards building a playground in fall 2017.
Providing children and families with the tools, places and inspiration to make active play a daily priority represents the purpose behind the Let’s Play Community Construction Grant.
Let’s Play grants require a commitment from volunteers to help erect playgrounds during a one or two-day community build.
Also, the commercial playground equipment selected must meet industry standards. A representative of the playground equipment manufacturer will steer the final installation of the play area.
As the exclusive dealer of BCI Burke playground equipment for Southeast and Central Texas, this is how fun abounds became involved with The Hangar playground project.
The fun abounds team was generously welcomed by everyone from Eyes On Me, Inc. Representatives from fun abounds eagerly shared their knowledge and experience to help their clients select playground equipment and amenities within their budget.
Moreover, once fun abounds learned more about Eyes On Me, Inc. and toured The Hangar in Brookshire, a structure that had previously operated as an airplane hangar, they knew to carry the aviation theme over to their play equipment!
Over the course of several meetings, fun abounds also learned more about Brookshire, a town that has experienced business and residential growth in recent years, but also where many families are still struggling to make ends meet.
According to the Census Bureau, close to 20 percent of Brookshire’s population live in poverty, a number that is higher than the national average of 14 percent.
Sadly, children are the group that are most impacted by these statistics with females ages 6 – 11 being the largest demographic living in poverty, followed closely by males under the age of five and then males ages 6 – 11.
The Hangar is uniquely positioned to provide a safe environment where families and children can play and have fun together.
After Eyes On Me, Inc. and fun abounds ordered the playground equipment, a call for volunteers to participate in the community build yielded incredible results.
Kingsland Baptist Church, located in the nearby town of Katy, expressed an interest in co-hosting the community build.
On March 24, 2018, 110 men from Kingsland Baptist Church, Brookshire and the surrounding area – known as the Men of Brookshire – showed up for the Community Build Day.
A local recovery center, Manna House, also assisted with the efforts by providing food for all of the volunteers.
“This was the largest community build turnout we have ever seen,” said Leigh Walden, president of fun abounds. “We think this playground is going to make a huge difference in Brookshire, and we were incredibly honored to be a part of this project.”
In addition to the fellowship that occurred during the Community Build Day, the long-term goals of the new airplane-themed playground at The Hangar includes hosting activities at the community center that will incorporate play and provide opportunities for people’s lives to be transformed through Christ-centered programs.
Dennis Turnipseed, executive director of Eyes on Me, Inc., said the following about the development of the new playground at The Hangar.
“There seems to be a shortage of positive, community enriching venues for youth and their families to gather in Brookshire. Building this playground on the site of The Hangar is another step towards eliminating the shortage of safe and inviting places for local residents. We hope this playground, and other plans at our facility, will bless and enrich the Brookshire community,” Turnipseed said.
To learn more about the Let’s Play initiative by Dr Pepper Snapple and their goal to eliminate the play deficit by making active play possible for more kids, visit www.LetsPlay.com.
For more information about building community through a playground for your church or faith-based organization, contact fun abounds online at www.fabplaygrounds.com.