Programs for adults with Alzheimer’s, and support groups for their families. After school day care programs for children ages 2-16. Swim lessons. Basketball tournaments for all, and I mean all ages. NORC’s. Camp trips. Senior trips.
As you more than likely know by now, the Samuel Field Y does a lot to try and build community, and with this being our first blog post, we’re beyond thrilled to share our latest community building experience with everyone.
The Central Queens Y in Forest Hills, an affiliate agency of the Samuel Field Y, was selected as part of a competitive process to be the home of the fourth playground built by a partnership between KaBOOM! and Warner Music Group. Children – along with volunteers, both vendors and individuals - from the CQY came together for a Princess Party fundraiser in April to design the playground that they wanted to see built, and hundreds of volunteers came together to make their design a real thing on Thursday, May 29.
Volunteers from the CQY and SFY, Warner Music Group, KaBOOM!, Forest Hills High School and Senior Services worked for six hard hours to saw wood, mix cement, draw and paint murals, lay mulch, and do everything else that you could imagine goes into building a brand new, state of the art playground.
And as much as all of the volunteers each deserved their own MVP trophy for their hard work and commitment to this project, none of this would have been possible without donations from several local vendors, including Home Depot, the New York City Department of Parks, and Jiggawatt Electric, as well as the delicious food donations that we received from A & A Gourmet Food, Benjy’s Kosher Pizza, and Trooper Foods.
On top of the obvious community building that this project stands for, providing nearly 1,200 children with opportunities to be more physically, mentally, and socially active, it was beyond amazing to see dozens upon dozens of people who had never met before interacting and physically working together to give something incredible back to the community.
The CQY anticipates that each day during the school year, 345 children ages 2-12 will access this brand new play deck and new outside play area as their main source of recreation and outdoor play. The CQY will also open these areas to the community on Sundays; during school breaks; and in the evenings during spring and summer (when the number of children almost doubles with camp programs).
Maybe it’s because I was in the trenches during this project – mulch team captain, woo woo – but the way that everyone from KaBOOM!’s energetic staff, to people who work behind a computer 40-plus hours a week, to high school students, to parents of children in early childhood programs showed passion, enthusiasm, and dedication to not just a construction project, but to the work that we do in out communities, was as rewarding as the ribbon cutting ceremony after the final pieces were put in place.
We owe such a tremendous thank you to KaBoom!, Warner Music Group, our volunteers and gratuitous vendors, all CQY/SFY staff members who collaborated to make this happen, and a special thank you to New York State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, for joining us on this special day.
It was great to see so many people from so many different places come together for one greater cause, but then again, this is what we do in so many different ways, every single day, at the Samuel Field Y.