Peabody parents seek donations for playground shade

By Mandy Grisham

When you’re a resident of Cooper-Young and an involved parent at Peabody Elementary, there’s no better email in your inbox than the one containing this message:

Congratulations! KaBOOM! and the Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group would like to formally congratulate Cooper Young-Peabody Elementary School on receiving a Let’s Play Improvement Grant for a shade structure in the amount of $25,000! Your community’s application and ability to impact even more children demonstrate the type of motivation and high potential for success that we look for in our grantees. We thank you for working to provide quality, fun and safe outdoor play opportunities for the children in your community.”

In 2008, Cooper-Young partnered with Peabody in applying for a KaBoom! grant that we were awarded. The four-year-old play structure has been the stage for many grade school recess games and community gatherings. Numerous “spruce days” have brought parents, children and community members out to freshen up the space, pull some weeds, paint the benches and add murals.

One request many parents have made over the years was for additional shade. During the Memphis heat, this newer playground had not been utilized because the sun is too intense. When we found out about the shade grant and learned it was only available to KaBoom! alumni, we knew we had to apply.

The grant is part of the Let’s Play initiative introduced in November 2010, a $15 million, three-year commitment from Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group to KaBOOM!, the national nonprofit that is saving play by ensuring there is a great place to play within walking distance of every child. Together through Let’s Play, Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group and KaBOOM! will build or fix 2,000 playgrounds by the end of 2013, benefiting an estimated 5 million children across North America.

In another recent conversation the people from KaBoom! said they have “loved hearing about all that has transpired at the playspace since the build (in 2008). It’s incredibly inspiring to know of all the relationships built, connections made, and care given to and use made of the playground.”

The PTA of Peabody had eight members collaborating on the grant application and all of the necessary decisions that needed to be made. We chose a vendor from Missouri who will be installing the structure this summer. The new shade that will be installed over the playground will decrease the temperature of the play area by 20 degrees and reduce UV rays by 90 percent. As a result, it will give us many more months of playtime to the school and neighborhood children.

But before the installation happens, the PTA will be hard at work soliciting donations for the $10,000 we have to contribute!

How can you help? For a $100 donation, your family, organization or business will receive a personalized brick that will be laid in the patio next to the playground showing your support. Bricks are 4 inches by 8 inches and the engraving can be up to 63 letters, 21 letters per line.

Bricks’R’Us has set up a personalized website for our donations:

(sidebar) We’ve continued to receive more amazing news about our outdoor play area. Last month, GrowMemphis awarded a grant to Peabody parents Emily Holmes and Kalki Winter for a school garden. Also, Memphis City Schools resodded the entire field at the request of persistent parents and Chili Cook-Off attendees. And, a wonderful, anonymous donor has contributed $10,000 for a brand new basketball court to be installed in the play space. It’s a great time to be a Peabody Eagle!

Author: LampLighter

The voice of Cooper-Young, a vibrant, diverse neighborhood to live, work and play, in the heart of Midtown Memphis, Tennessee.

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