|As the adage says it takes a village to raise a child.
It also takes a village (or in this case, a community) to create a playground where hundreds of children will thrive for years to come.
In early November, more than a year of planning came to fruition when the St. Patrick Catholic Elementary School community in downtown Niagara Falls celebrated the grand opening of the school’s playground, created through the power of community.
The playground, created at an estimated cost of $25,000, was spearheaded by The Recess Project, which seeks to create save and environmentally sustainable playgrounds for children where they can express themselves creatively during lunch hours, recesses, after school and on weekends.
Previous principal Gus Marchio began the process during the pandemic, working with The Recess Project to plan and design a playground in a neighbourhood where play space is at a premium. Bertie Clinton Mutual Insurance came on board with a $25,000 grant through its Investing in Communities fund, and Walker Industries also jumped in to provide materials and hands-on work with the installation. Gauld Nurseries supplied plants to green the area and staff to plant, and Canadian Tire Jumpstart provided equipment so the children can play outside.
The official opening on November 2 brought together representatives from the organizations, and students and staff from the school, who shared how excited they are to have a beautiful new playground to enjoy for many years to come. Dr. Lauren McNamara from The Recess Project spoke passionately about what seeing the completion of the St. Patrick playground means to her and hopes that this project will generate interest from others in the community to ensure all students have safe and fun places to play at recess, so everyone feels like they belong.
Principal Irene Ricci, who is new to the school this year, also shared her excitement and gratitude as she sees children, and new friendships, bloom on the playground.
You can read a story by Niagara This Week reporter Paul Forsyth here.