The folks at the Child Development Center of Webster Elementary School in West Long Beach approached RTLB in 2015, requesting that we build a playground for the preschool children in their charge. At that time, the children were allowed to “play” only on the chicken-wire-enclosed, no-shade-available, and very aged asphalt part of a former parking lot; they had few toys – and really nowhere to store or play with toys had they been fortunate enough to have any.
We began by researching costs for such an enterprise – and were amazed to discover just how expensive this type of project is! While we were checking out possibilities and investigating the complex range of applicable federal, state, local, and school district rules and regulations, we of course established and then maintained a close working relationship with staff and faculty at Webster as well as with administrators of Long Beach Unified School District. At one point, we seriously considering running a "crowd sourcing" event to raise money for the project; Cindy Young, an LBUSD administrator, even video-taped an interview detailing the need for such.
So when Jennifer Caveness, one of RTLB’s super volunteers, put us in touch with the folks from Carter’s Kids, we were overjoyed! Carter’s Kids is a nonprofit which specializes in building playgrounds; they build some 50 each and every year and are experts in the field. In addition to providing technical know-how, Carter’s Kids also provides funding; in the Webster case, that funder was Nordic Naturals.
The bottom line: on September 22 and October 15, 2016, Rebuilding Together Long Beach, in partnership with volunteers from Nordic Naturals, Bank of the West, Sprouts, Pankow Construction, and Carter’s Kids – along with some of the parents of children enrolled in the school and even administrators from Long Beach Unified -- installed a new, state of the art playground structure, shade covering, outdoor storage units, and 8 raised planter boxes at LBUSD Child Development Center located at Webster Elementary in West Long Beach.
The children intend to plant fruit and vegetables in the planters – and to eat what they grow! A commendable way to provide a healthy diet!
Research shows that students (especially low income students) that have participated in a high quality preschool program are less likely to commit a violent crime, less likely to be incarcerated, and more likely to succeed. The support of the aforementioned organizations, as well as individuals within the Long Beach community, aided our efforts to provide a multifaceted playground for the low income children and families of the LBUSD Child Development Center located at Webster Elementary in West Long Beach, thus ensuring that these children, the most at need in our community, have a fair shot at success in life.
This project will ensure that the preschool is able to provide a high quality program that includes physical play in one of Long Beach’s high impact, low income areas. Children will have the appropriate equipment and play surfaces to play safely. On behalf of RTLB and the Wester Elementary community, we sincerely thank all of those who chipped in and made this dream come true for the children and their families!
Cindy rolled in some heavy equipment . . .
and put lots of people to work assembling.
Everyone pitched in … including Lois!
while preschoolers waited with anticipation.
It took a village to raise the pirate flag to the top.
Instructions were ongoing . . .
until we got the awning shade up and planters built.
Bank of the West volunteers