Wednesday, November 15, 2000

Place to grow as well as play

Youngsters with needs helped build playground

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Building a playground this week at the Beech Acres West Center in the West End has been both fun and therapeutic for about 40 children with behavioral and emotional needs.

        The 3,600-square-foot playground features balance bars, overhead ring swings, slides and other equipment.

        It will serve as therapeutic treatment for the children, said Carolyn Brinkmann, program coordinator for Beech Acres, a child-focused, family service organization based in Anderson Township that serves 350 children a year.

[photo] James Brown, 14, of North Fairmount has fun Tuesday on the playground he helped build at Beech Acres West Center in the West End.
(Tony Jones photo)
| ZOOM |
        “We have many children with bad motor skills, emotional and behavioral problems,” she said. “The playground gives them a chance to develop motor skills and a chance to expend energy.

        “Some children helped with actually building, and others worked inside — helping to prepare food for the volunteers.”

        Genevieve Boron, community liaison for Beech Acres, said helping to build the playground offered the children a chance to relate to people in the community.

        “It was good for them to help plan a project, work with other people on it and see it completed,” Ms. Boron said.

        “Teaching a group activity is what we try to do to help them readjust to returning to school,” she added.

        The children, ages 4-18, teamed with 150 volunteers from the CoStar Group of Mason — a real-estate information provider — to build the playground.

        James Brown, 14, of North Fairmount enjoyed working outdoors.

        “Building a playground was something special to me,” James said.

        CoStar, which has 1,000 employees in 27 offices across the country, is the leading provider of information services to the commercial real-estate industry.

        KaBOOM, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization, selected the site. KaBOOM was created in 1995 to provide expertise to develop playgrounds around the country.

        Among businesses participating in the project were the Kroger Co., LaRosa's, Aramark and Chiquita Brands International, which provided food and drinks. One Stop Tool Rental donated tools and equipment.

        Work on the playground began Nov. 2. Finishing touches were completed this week.

        Cost to build the playground was not disclosed. It is not open to the public.

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