The gifts keep on coming

Georgia Kiwanians receive additional funding for Centennial playground

As chair of the Georgia Centennial Celebration in 2015, Victoria Turney knew Kiwanis would need support from local businesses and foundations to build a playground at Tony Matthews Boys & Girls Club in Mableton. Despite a huge yard, the club did not have a playground. Children were bused to a nearby park to play, and were forced to play inside on other days.

Victoria and her team busily applied for grants, sending requests for financial support to local communities to help underwrite the US$100,000 playground. Seed money was provided by the Kiwanis International Foundation and the Georgia District of Kiwanis Foundation.

The Tony Matthews Boys & Girls Club was selected as the playground recipient because an outdoor play space was not available for the hundreds of boys and girls who go there after school, on weekends and during the summer, and because the club was interested in a long-term partnership with the Georgia Kiwanians.

Ground was broken for the playground in February 2015 during the Kiwanis International Centennial Tour. The 2014-15 Kiwanis International President Dr. John Button joined 2014-15 Georgia Governor Jimmy McCorlew and other Kiwanians, local government and community dignitaries to turn the soil in preparation for building the gift of play. On a rainy weekend in May of last year, club members worked with contractors from Landscape Structures, a Kiwanis partner, to put together the pieces and raise a playground. Soon, kids were playing outside and taking advantage of climbing, sliding and swinging. The team thought the playground was complete and any leftover funds could be used for touch-ups and landscaping.

But this year, more than a year after the initial grants were sought, another grant was received, allowing the Georgia District to purchase additional bricks and pavers. And, new funds from Innovating Worthy Projects Foundation, along with additional support from Georgia District clubs, allowed the district to expand the playground with more features.

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“It was a great surprise when we received a call to support additional equipment to the current playground,” said Ken Edroes, a new member of the Marietta Kiwanis Club, coincidentally the same club to which Victoria belongs.

“It was easy to support the call to support the kids,” said Edroes, an LSI employee.

A wish list from the Boys & Girls Club made selecting the extra pieces for the playground easy.

“Through Landscape Structures’ support and dedication to the kids we were able to get a huge swing, jungle gym and extras – pieces we couldn’t originally afford. And, thanks to Landscape Structures, we were able to quickly order, receive and add the new pieces,” Victoria said.

The Matthews Boys & Girls Club staff and kids were thrilled with the additional playground pieces. “The playground draws the kids outside and encourages them to move, sweat, laugh and pretend – they get to play!” said Chris Collins, executive director of the Matthews Boys & Girls Club.