Richmond Elementary students put their feet to work to help their school during a Walk-A-Thon April 25.
Richmond’s “Paws for Playgrounds,” coordinated by second grade teacher Erica Kidd as well as a committee of parents, are fundraising for new playground equipment to replace outdated and unsafe equipment currently boarded up. The students walked to help raise funds.
“I hope the kids learn the importance of being healthy, keeping themselves active, supporting their school, wanting to help their community and each other,” said Kidd. “[The Walk-A-Thon] gives them more ownership. I think they see the importance of that hard work and knowing what that money is going toward and hopefully over the summer the new playground equipment will be put in and they’ll start the new school year with something really fun to see.”
Richmond Elementary students in grades K – 4 walked for the contributions made by friends and family. Each grade had an extended recess for one hour and 20 minutes instead of the usual 20 minutes, walking for about 15 minutes and splitting into groups to play kick ball, four square, basketball and jump rope. Their recess concluded with water and a pretzel donated by Wawa.
“I hope they learn hard work and working together to accomplish a goal and just having that support for their school,” said Kidd.
A rough estimate of the funds raised that day is between $1,500 and $2,000, and still counting. Their goal was $8,500.
“[New playground equipment] would awesome because ours is really old,” said first grader Kai Hawk, 7.
“There was water in our tubes and they had to take it down and that’s no fun,” said her friend Jacqueline Kunitsky, 7.
The two first graders would like to see wheels to spin, slides, seesaw, swings, rock climbing and rings to hang from.
What they liked about the Walk-A-Thon were the games, jump roping and kick ball.
“I like raising funds because it’s helping people. I like helping people,” said Jacqueline.
Helping with the event were PTA members, teachers and parent volunteers.
Richmond Elementary PTA President Christine Shay said the PTA was able to contribute $11,000 toward the playground, which is estimated to cost about $25,000 to $30,000.
“We have a very active PTA here, doing a lot of fundraisers throughout the year. It’s money we started collecting and putting aside for a playground a few years ago because we knew this one was starting to decline. We put that money aside with the idea that when we were ready we’d have that to put toward the playground so it’s money we’ve accumulated over the years,” said Shay.
“Like everywhere, schools are hurting, everybody’s hurting,” she said. “If we have the ability to raise the funds and help out the schools where they need to put their money toward scholastics and if we can help out with a playground then that’s something we want to do because it’s for our kids. We want them to have a safe place to play.”
While their play area has basketball courts and four square and other activities, “playgrounds are fun, climbing and learning balancing, swinging and sliding. It’s more inviting to the kids... it gives more options for the kids to get out and get active,” said Shay. “Being active keeps you healthy.”
She also believes the activity outside helps students with attention.
“It just makes you a healthier, well-rounded kid and that’s what we want,” said Shay.
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