The Clarke Elementary School lower elementary playground allows the preschool, kindergarten, and first grade students a much-needed break during the school day. Unfortunately, the playground hasn’t been updated since 1995 and is in need of developmental and safety upgrades. That’s why the administration and a committee of volunteers at the Elementary are putting out a call to the community to help in three quick and easy fundraising opportunities to help fund updates to provide a new, safer, engaging playground for the kids.

Clarke Elementary School Playground

“So much has changed regarding safety and compliance over the past twenty-five years,” said Becca Kedley, Vice Principal of Clarke Elementary. “Our students can greatly benefit from a playground that is ADA compliant and offers a variety of sensory-friendly, dramatic play, and developmental experiences. With the community’s help, we can make this playground a reality.”

Starting Sunday, October 25th, three easy fundraising opportunities are being kicked off for the community to support the playground updates:

  1. Participate in the Hy-Vee Round Up Program: Hy-Vee will be doing their “Round-Up” program with the proceeds benefitting the Clarke Elementary Playground Fund from October 25-31, 2020. When making any purchase at our local Hy-Vee, customers will be given the opportunity to round up to the next dollar or add a donation to their purchase.
  2. Help Clarke Students Reach Their 1-Million Cans & Bottles Goal: November 9th-14th, Clarke Elementary will be holding a can and bottle drive. During that week, students are encouraged to bring empty cans and bottles to the school to donate. On November 12thfrom 7am-7pm, and November 14th from 8am-1pm, cans and bottles from the community will be accepted at the Elementary School in a drive-by. A goal of 1 million cans and bottles has been set, with milestone celebrations planned throughout the week.
  3. Partner with Casey’s Rewards Program from Anywhere for up to $50,000! The Casey’s Rewards Program allows members to allocate their earned points to Clarke Elementary through “Cash for Classrooms.” Participants can select Clarke Elementary as the recipient and those points can be turned into cash for the playground. Casey’s Corporate has also generously offered a matching donation up to $25,000 earned through the “Cash for Classrooms” Rewards Program in October and November.
Clarke elementary playground fundraising

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The new playground design will be ADA-compliant and will provide safety and developmental features that are extremely important for these younger grades. A poured rubber surface, a music component, and equipment for climbing and balancing are all part of the playground plans, with a goal of $250,000 to cover all costs by spring 2021.

“We are adding more swings, which are a hot commodity on any playground, including one inclusive swing with a three point safety guard so students of all ability levels can enjoy swinging with their friends,” said Kedley. “The students will also enjoy a track built in around the playground. This will help preschool students reach large motor skill standards like tricycle riding. The goal is to provide a fun and safe environment, with developmental tools for all students.”

All fundraising will go toward the Clarke Elementary Playground fund, and the lower elementary playground is simply Phase One. Using these easy tools to raise money, as well as planning for cost-cutting measures like community volunteers for playground installation, the upper elementary playground will also see improvements in Phase Two. Those updates will include more physical challenges like rope courses and American Ninja Warrior-style equipment for the 2nd through 5th grade classes.

For more information about these fundraising opportunities or to find out more ways you can help make this playground a reality, please contact Becca Kedley by calling 641-342-6320 or via email at [email protected].​

This article was first published on http://clarkecountylife.com.