Parents lead efforts to fund new playground equipment at Mitchell Elementary

August 28, 2018

MITCHELL — The playground equipment behind Mitchell Elementary School has seen a lot of use since it was installed in 1995, but after 23 years, it’s time for a newer version.

So in the fall of 2017, a group called Mitchell Elementary Parents and Educators Together (PET) organized to work with the community and raise the needed funding to provide students with new playground equipment. They called it the Playtime Matters Project.

“The current playground equipment has just about reached the end of its usefulness,” said parent Beth Erdman, who’s helping coordinate the project. “Because of changes in the equipment itself, it’s hard to find replacement parts.”

After the PET group was formed, they started contacting equipment distributors to see what was available in the marketplace. A lot of discussion and idea submission followed.

When the committee had three options they thought would work best, they invited the student body to vote for which one was their favorite, given the students were the ones that would be using it.

Setting a goal of $81,519 to purchase new playground equipment, the group started applying for grants and scheduling a number of fundraising events, from Penny Carnivals to pancake feeds to 5K runs.

“Now we’re looking for individual donors to help us reach the goal,” Erdman said. “With the help of several corporate donors, we’re getting close and only have about $19,000 left. We’d like to have all the equipment installed next spring so it will be ready by the end of the school year.”

Recess, always a favorite with elementary students, provides a necessary break from the challenges of the classroom

Also, safe and supervised recess offers students a number of cognitive, social, emotional and physical benefits.

The Playtime Matters Project is part of the Oregon Trail Community Foundation, so donations may also be made directly to them.

For more information, call Erdman at 308-672-7247.

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