Many playgrounds still need TLC
Fort Wayne, Ind.—Over 70 Lincoln Financial Group employees organized their own Day of Caring event and are spending the day painting the Pond Pavilion and Pavilion # 1 at Franke Park. Employees also rolled up their sleeves and cut back the overgrown vegetation in the area.
“We really appreciate Lincoln’s efforts and their support of Franke Park,” said Parks & Recreation Director Al Moll. “They contacted me and asked how they could help. This is so typical of the great community we have in Fort Wayne. With 86 parks to care for, and only so many hours in the day, having community volunteers on hand to give the parks some extra TLC is always appreciated by us, and by the citizens who use the park.”
The Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department encourages groups and individuals to volunteer in the parks through the Adopt a Playground Program. This is a great way to become involved and generate community pride through personal interaction and ownership of Fort Wayne’s playgrounds and doesn’t take much time. The adopting organization commits to a three-year period, cleaning up their playground three times each year. By organizing this volunteer effort to clean up playgrounds on a regular basis, adults help to provide safe and inviting places for our city’s youth.
“This program was an outgrowth from our Playful City USA award, a nationally recognized status for cities that care about their children and the importance of play,” said Director Moll. “Providing opportunities for play has emerged as a civic responsibility, and our Adopt-a-Playground program offers citizens a way to help keep our playgrounds safe and appealing.”
Research indicates that play is essential for human development. Children do better in school because of the cognitive skills they learn on the playground, while learning social skills in these settings help them become happy, well-adjusted adults.
One of the many factors that create barriers to play is the perception that playgrounds are rundown or unsafe. As a result, a Play Task Force created the Adopt-a-Playground program, to give people the opportunity to combat this perception and encourage play.
To learn more about Adopt-a-Playground, visit http://www.fortwayneparks.org/ and select Parks, then Adopt-a-Playground. A list of all playgrounds, along with their locations and dimensions is available, along with an Adopt-a-Playground agreement.
Fort Wayne has been named a Playful City USA since August 2010, joining other cities who maintain great places to play in conjunction with a vision of keeping children happy and healthy. Playful City USA communities create best practices, serve as role models for other communities and prove that enhancing children’s well-being by increasing the opportunity for play is an attainable goal for every community.