A teacher’s assistant from North Carolina, an industrial hygienist from St. Paul, Minn., a paralegal from London and a physical therapist and a mechanical engineer from Wichita will team up this weekend to build a playground for the children in Oaklawn who were affected by a tornado in April.
They form the NC137 Leadership Team with the Legacy Center, an organization from North Carolina that provides leadership workshops. This is their attempt at making the world a better place.
Building the playground is the team’s final project for the workshop, which they all participated in the last three months. In order for their project to be successful, Amy Price, Tori Smith, Adam Price, Andrew Hadley and Jason Kunz need to involve donors and volunteers from the Oaklawn community.
“We actually got to choose any place in the country to go and make an impact,” said Amy Price, who works as a teacher’s assistant at a school for deaf students in Morganton, N.C. “Since tornadoes recently went through Wichita, and since we have two members on the team from the Wichita area, we felt that that would make the biggest impact, the biggest difference in the community.”
Adam Price, Amy’s son and a mechanical engineer for Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, and Smith, a physical therapist who works near Oaklawn, attended a board meeting of the Oaklawn Improvement District to see what the area’s needs were. The board had discussed building a playground in the neighborhood for the kids whose families were affected by the tornado. The team took the idea and ran with it.
First, they made a list of the materials they needed for the project: concrete, rubber mulch, a playground structure with a swing set, park benches, picnic tables, trash cans, a fence. Then, they divided the tasks.
“The things that we felt most strongly about we took on individually,” Adam Price said. “If we had any type of background with some of the things needed on the list, then those were the items that we selected.”
They calculated the cost of the project at approximately $30,000. And they set a few rules: the team had to design the project themselves, could not use any of their own money, had to involve the community to do 75 percent of the work and had to have it completed in a maximum of three days.
They started approaching businesses for donations and volunteers for help. On Monday, they still needed funds for buying mulch and a playground structure and the help of as many volunteers as possible.
The team is expecting to attract 50 to 100 volunteers over the weekend, Smith said.
“We still are knocking on the doors in the neighborhood and letting them know what we’re up to, that we’re going to be putting up a playground for their kids to come and play,” Adam Price said. “After work or during lunch we’ll take off for a few minutes and drive over.”
The construction work at the playground will start Friday at 8 a.m. and end Sunday at 7 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting event with food and music.
“It’s just going to be really great to bring the community together around the playground,” Smith said. “And when we’ll get it done, it’s going to be awesome.”