What better way to create a playground for children than to have kids design one. That is exactly what Volunteers of America/Dakotas did, soon after their Youth Center relocated in January 2019. The former Youth Center in downtown Sioux Falls had become too costly to maintain or renovate, so Volunteers of America (VOA) moved to their new location. But that meant leaving their playground equipment behind.

VOA applied for and received a grant to purchase new playground equipment, and then had the kids from their Youth Center draw their dream playground. It is from those drawings the playground was modeled. Now it needs to be built. That is where the rest of us come in.

Prep work begins at 8 AM on Monday and Tuesday, August 19 and 20 and then Wednesday, August 21, at the VOA/Dakotas Youth Center at 1309 W. 51st Street beginning at 8:30 AM, everyone is invited to join in the construction of this new kid-designed, state-of-the-art playground, which will go from an empty site to finished play space in 6 hours!

All volunteers will get a t-shirt to wear during the project and breakfast, lunch and beverages will be provided. They will also have gloves and other safety materials you'll need. VOA reminds you that this project will happen rain or shine so make sure you're dressed for the weather. Also, closed-toe shoes are required; sneakers or work boots that you don't mind getting dirty are advisable.

The grant for the playground equipment came from KaBoom, a national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids, especially those living in poverty, great, safe places to play. Here in Sioux Falls, KaBoom is partnering with Keurig/Dr. Pepper (KDP) and Hy-Vee in the effort to ensure communities have great places for children to play.

The new playground is just part of a wider initiative to ensure children grow up in an environment where they “feel valued and loved, and where their potential is supported, nurtured and celebrated.”

For more information, and to see the complete schedule, see Volunteers of America/Dakotas online, on Facebook or call Rebecca Deelstra at 605-444-2458.