Friday, May 20, 2011

Children Donate to Help Build Playgrounds

Children in the department's After School Program revealed yesterday that they raised $1,125 to help build playgrounds for children in Haiti and Afghanistan. The children made the announcement after sliding down a sliding board at the George Mason Elementary School Playground.
Each year, children in the program select a charity to support that helps other children and their families somewhere in the world. This year, the children decided to raise funds by selling coupon books for the International Childhood Enrichment Program (ICEP). ICEP notes that while the situations in Haiti and Afghanistan differ vastly, children in both countries have not had the opportunity to experience the spontaneous joy of playing. Building playgrounds gives these young people the opportunity to reclaim their childhood.
Richmond’s Chief Service Officer Paul Manning recognized the children for their donation as well as the After School Program for the values it teaches. “The program not only provides a safe place for children after school; it is grooming future residents and leaders to help Build a Better Richmond and a better world,” he said.
Dr. David B. Jones, a board member of ICEP and a professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Maine, was on hand to also recognize the children and accept the donation.
The department’s licensed After School Program currently serves 500 children at 20 elementary schools. In previous years, children in the program have raised funds to help build a merry-go-round that pumps water in an African village, purchase honey bees and bee hives for needy families to increase their agricultural yields and income, and provide solar cookers for women living in refugee camps in Chad so that they can feed their families and the orphaned children they adopt.
For more information on ICEP or to donate to help build playgrounds, visit