A little splash of color
Asphalt and two netless basketball hoops were all that occupied the lethargic play space of St. Benedict the Moor Catholic School.
But that changed last October when the University of Dayton Association for Young Children (UDAYC) broke ground to create a space that was vibrant and colorful for the children.
After tutoring at the 82-student school each week during spring 2016, UDAYC members saw the need to add playground equipment to the empty space.
At first, UDAYC planned to raise money for some basketballs, but the goal grew into a $30,000 playground project. The plans were developed by including the ideas of the children who would actually be using the space.
“We spoke to the kids and asked what their playground would look like,” said UDAYC president and second-year student Anne Price.
UDAYC vice-president and third-year student Olivia Essell added, “We made our plan from what they said and it looks exactly like the kids wanted.”
To fund the project, the group approached their hometown parishes, asked friends and family, and hosted restaurant takeovers on Brown Street to raise money for the new playground.
With the help of Bro. Raymond Fitz S.M., Ferree Professor of Social Justice, UDAYC partnered with the Dayton Foundation and received donations from his Marianist community, which were matched by local corporations.
During fall 2016, UDAYC raised $20,000 to fund phase one — the playset.
“The installation of the playground has been very helpful,” Price said. “It gives the teachers and kids a break, and since having that time outside, the kids behave a lot better and have improved academically.”
UDAYC has additional plans for the play area and is currently raising funds to implement phase two — a $10,000 swing set. They are about $4,000 away from their goal and plan for a fall 2017 installation.
“People see this project as providing an opportunity for the children of St. Benedict the Moor Catholic School, that most kids in public or other Catholic schools take for granted,” Fitz said. “It is a great addition to their learning and to the neighborhood.”
For more information, visit daytonfoundation.org or contact Anne Price at email@example.com.