A Word from our Chairman ...
It's no secret that many of our communities are struggling financially with the ever-changing economy. As a playground designer for 15 years, I have held one too many meetings with a mayor or town supervisor who made it clear they had no funding for a playground but felt it necessary to go through the motions of putting a proposal together just to show constituents the impossible dream. It was during one of those meetings that a lightbulb came on and I thought I had to do something for those families who would never know what it was like to have their own playground. It was then Our Park Place was born.
Our board members are passionate about bringing communities together at the playground, where it all begins. We hope you'll join us in bringing play to the communities around us that are less fortunate. As a parent, I remember when my son signed up for travel soccer in Manhattan. I was excited about his taking the initiative and making it on a competitive team. I also learned that the league required each team to chip in a certain amount of money to the league so that they could allow certin players from lower income families to play on the team - covering their expenses was the only way these kids could play. And they played hard. These kids were often the heart and soul of the team. And they were not regarded any differently by the other boys who came from privilege and private schools. The playing field was leveled and guess what? One of the things these boys all had in common was as children they all played on the same playgrounds - where they learned to take turns, share and build friendships. Some of these friendships have endured beyond college. And it all started on the playground!
You and I together can combine our resources and help fill the void that hurts not just the families in underserved communities but all of us who share this world of ours. A playground isn't just a playground ... it's where dreams and memories are created. It's where we learn to share and care and develop our minds and bodies from childhood and beyond.
I understand how hard it is for most families to make ends meet and donating to a charity is often considered something only the wealthy can do. That's not the case! Imagine what it would cost to take the family out to a restaurant. Now imagine how you would feel if you were to donate toward a playground - today. It's tax deductible, sure. But it's still money and we know you're on a budget, like the rest of us. Whether you can donate $5.00, $50.00 or $5M ... you will be joining forces with a growing number of people who realize that it's not up to the government to fill all our needs. It's up to us. Park and Recreation budgets are usually stretched so thin they barely cover employee salaries and maintenance. Our focus is on communities that are in the greatest need.
It is my sincerest hope that you will join us and make Our Park Place your Park Place.
John Graziano, Chairman