Submitted by Allegra Newman –
Churchill Alternative Public School is $15,000 away from rejuvenating its “Upper Yard,” where its play structures are located. Like many other schools in Ottawa, the school’s structures have reached the end of their lives and need to be replaced before the school board deems them to be unusable. The school community has been working hard to raise the remaining needed funds in time for a 2018 summer build.
Grounded in Play, the Churchill Alternative Schoolyard Rejuvenation Project, has been working over the past several years to develop a plan for the school yard’s rejuvenation, and to raise the project’s full $130,000 price tag. As an urban school on a very small lot, this rebuild needs to be compact and engaging for the school’s 300 students. In January, the school council approved a new yard design developed by the OCDSB that replaces the existing structures and incorporates many nature-inspired elements including log retaining walls, stump seats, play huts, and a featured “log jam” structure made of logs and ropes. The school community is enthusiastic about the new plan.
The final fundraising push has been going well. In April, teachers and students organized a student-led Dance-a-Thon that raised an incredible $14,000 for the schoolyard. Local businesses are now getting on board to organize fundraising events for the cause. Supply & Demand hosted a Churchill Fundraising Night on May 16 and 15% of all sales that evening were donated to the Churchill schoolyard. Salon My Place, just down the street from the school, also offered a schoolyard fundraising promotion.
The final major fundraising event will be an online and silent / live auction. The online auction will take place from June 1 until at 9 p.m. on June 13. A fun community event will then be held on Friday June 15 with music from the Churchill School of Rock and an exciting silent / live auction that will include collaborative student art.
Churchill volunteers have collected a wide variety of interesting auction items from generous local businesses and creative Churchill parents. The school now needs help from the broader community to realize its financial goal and is asking everyone to bid early and often on the online auction items. Please visit charityauction.bid/churchillplayground to place your bid and help the school achieve its vision for the schoolyard.
For more information and to see the concept plan for the schoolyard please visit groundedinplay.ca/2018/02/22/upper-yard-concept-plan.
Allegra Newman is a Churchill P.S. parent.