Children attending Lakeview Head Start have a brand new playground to enjoy following a great deal of planning and work. A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new space was held Thursday, Oct. 7.
Lakeview Site Mgr. Reejen Cooper asked local parent Erica Villalobos to do the honors of cutting the ribbon, noting that she has been a community volunteer for years and that Villalobos’ family donated cans and pop bottles to be recycled to generate money for the project. Cooper said she wanted to honor Villalobos’ time and effort. She also wanted to highlight the small contributions to the playground project in addition to the large ones.
The new playground consists of tree hoppers, a log climber, a play house, monkey bars and a sandbox. The area was previously just dirt; Cooper told those gathered during the ribbon cutting that children used to play and race in the dirt. In addition to the new equipment, there is also a lawn and a sidewalk that winds its way around the playground.
Cooper explained that she was told by her director to run with what she wanted to see in the playground. She wanted the space to have “as little metal and plastic as possible.”
She also opened up the conversation to Head Start families and her staff. A “natural playground” was decided upon — one that mimics things one would find in nature and that offers fun and challenging activities for kids.
Cooper said a lot of grant writing was involved in the process and she had to get approval from the Head Start board, parents and guarantors. Approximately $80,000 for the project came from grants and scholarships while $20,000 came from Oregon lottery kickbacks and the Head Start program.
Numerous community members came out for the playground ribbon cutting and Frankie Manibusan barbecued for the group.
Cooper thanked her staff and the Head Start families for making the project a success.