Approximately five months ago, I reported on Roxhill Elementary’s planned move to a refurbished old building at the start of the 2018 school year. Within the proposed move, questions lingered as to the state of the school’s future playground, particularly, how was it going to be funded.
Today, thanks to the formation and work put in by a new 501(c)(3) organization, Friends of Roxhill Elementary (Friends of Roxhill or FoRE), Roxhill Elementary will have the funding and planning for an awesome playground. This is because FoRE received a $100K Department of Neighborhoods grant from the city of Seattle to help fund the playground. In addition to the Playground, FoRE plans to use a portion of the grant to commission a mural at the elementary. Roxhill second-grade teacher and FoRE President Shawna Lystra, in a press release from FoRE, explains the importance of a quality environment for kids:
Next fall, on the first day of school, our students will be thrilled to begin the year in the newly updated building. And when they head outside for the first recess of the year, they’ll have all- new, modern playground equipment. As educators, we know that when we provide an environment children can be proud of, that pride carries over into their learning and their futures. This playground, and this new building, will help our kids feel good about their school and their community.
Beyond the positive environment made by these additions, Amanda Kay, founding member and treasurer for FoRE is also focused on inclusivity in the process:
Ensuring a welcoming and inclusive outdoor environment will provide a soft landing pad for our students, teachers, staff and families as we transition to a new campus. FoRE is committed to empowering our community by taking ownership and control of what happens in this large playground space.
Also, because FoRE is formed as a stand-alone 501 (c)(3), they feel it benefits them in taking on the needs of the community and of the elementary school. FoRe vice president Jenny Rose Ryan explains:
Because the organization is a standalone nonprofit, we can nimbly respond and seek innovative opportunities and ongoing partnerships. As an all-volunteer organization with an elected, motivated board, we are driven by a desire to provide fast access to direct support for our school and by a belief in the power of our diverse community to work together for change.
My wife and FoRE secretary Alicyn Roberge has her eye on the future when asked about the $100K Department of Neighborhoods grant:
Well currently, there is no playground structure at all at EC Hughes. The grant we were awarded is for equipment only and there is room for growth in other ways down the road like a rain garden, mural extensions, shade structures, sod installation, and so on.
Friends of Roxhill Elementary is focused on creating equal opportunities for the Roxhill community that meets monthly in the Harrison L. Caldwell Library at Roxhill Elementary. Learn more and support FoRE at friendsofroxhill.org. Donations are tax deductible.