Shelter Playground Build
Granted by KaBoom and Rebuild Texas Fund
Bright light, fun and laughter on Design Day, 3pm October 25, 2018 at Fort Bend Women’s Center Shelter. Staff and volunteers entered the Shelter’s Rainforest Room with anticipation of the playground designers.
The smaller children arrived at 3:15pm and the older kids arrived at 4pm. In ran a littler energy K, “Hey I know we are getting a new playground,” as he jumped up and down with a big smile. Slightly blinded by the little bright light in his eyes, he told KaBoom’s Project Manager about his dream playground. “I want a Workout Center and a Rocket”, he said, as he moved aside to allow another kid to enter.
Quietly walking in, another little smiling face entered the room. She introduced herself to all the adults in the room as she shook their hands and approached the snacks nearby. “Um. Good.” She was asked if she was going to draw her dream playground. “Yes, I am going to draw,” she replied.
As they gathered at the round table, energy and anticipation was on each of their little excited and thankful faces as they prepared to draw their dream KaBoom playground.
There were some creative teenagers at the table as they sat looking and feeling the energy from the little ones spread around the round table. Ms. B made sure that crayons, paper and of course snacks, were all there.
Now, the dream of these little bright light faces showed more excitement and joy. A little one shook his head as Ms. B said, “he is the little creator.” Using a blue marker, the little creator draws his dream playground. He drew a swing and monkey bars and signed his name–“By K.” And K was not finished, as he drew more dream equipment.
Now, one of our teens, N, who shook all of the adults’ hands and challenged Ms. B, whom the kids nicknamed “Miles”, her altered ego, drew her dream playground showing a swing with baskets, a castle ice cream cone with a bounce top, a ladder and a castle track to ride her bike on.
Some teens used social media to be more creative. Ms. B met the challenge with her own colorful mushrooms–blue and red with white dots.
N apologized to KaBoom for all of the excitement, while KS, another teen sat quietly as he contemplated what to draw. His thinking paid off! KS drew monkey bars, swings, a treehouse with slider on the front with a ladder on the back.
Remember little energy K? Well, he runs in to the Rainforest room wearing his Halloween mask. K still had such delightful energy that was so contagious.
A few minutes later, in walked two easy going little toddlers. Brothers, yes. The older one was G. Ms. B immediately gave them crayons and paper as they chose to sit on the floor to draw their dream playground. All of the amazing, exciting, happy kids were jumping and dancing. The light was truly in their eyes as they danced having so much fun.
The adults departed from the Rainforest room leaving the kids with Ms. B. as they walked into the LRC room to share the kids dream playground drawings. The parents were waiting to select the colors and equipment designs according the creative drawings by our dream playground little designers, Fort Bend Women’s Center Shelter children.
Parents, staff and volunteers looked at the kids’ drawings, as they chose the colors for the playground equipment. Teams of three were established, as KaBoom’s Project Manager gave out the equipment catalog for each team. It was time to choose the equipment style and theme of their choice. Among the group of parents, we had a very special Mom– Ms. A. She was very much involved in choosing the equipment that her kids would enjoy. Although, she stated that she and her family would not be at the shelter long enough to enjoy it. Some said, “Please come back to see it.” Her input was creative and super helpful. So glad she participated!
After the teams completed their selections and the Project Manager closed the process, Ms. A’s oldest son walked into the room toward her, and he gave her a big hug. Ms. A was excited to show him her choices for the playground. He was able to pick out some of his favorites pieces as well. He then says to her, “I love you Mom,” as the sound of “Ah” flowed from each participant’s lips.
These kids did not ask for the dim light in their eyes. They only want to be safe, feel good, be happy, have fun, laugh and play. And their parents want to be safe, independent and empowered to choose their path to a better life.
Fort Bend Women’s Center wants to thank KaBoom, Rebuild Texas and Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and their Sponsors for bringing such a bright light into the eyes of each and every one of these kids and their families.
Ruby LaMonte-McDonald, pen name Clyde Olivia
Fort Bend Women’s Center is so excited to build the state of the art brand new playground for our kids this year! But we need your help. We still need 100 volunteers on Build Day, Dec 15. If you are interested in helping to give these kids the best present for the holidays, email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on volunteering!
Thank you for bringing healing and hope to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and their children. We simply could not do this work without you!