by Mary Wilson
Parents and students from Meadowmere Elementary School in Grandview are taking their playground upgrades into their own hands. Over forty years old, the playground, according to PTA President and parent Monica Terry, is in disrepair and needs replaced.
“For the last two years, we’ve tried to organize a walk-a-thon type of fundraiser, raising only around $1200 each time,” said Terry. “That just didn’t get us very far when we’re trying to replace an entire playground.”
Meadowmere PTA voted this year to funnel all funds raised throughout the year into the playground replacement budget. Every Sonic and McDonald’s night and all other fundraisers throughout the year would be designated playground funds.
“We’re in our third year of fundraising for the playground, and right now, we only have about $20,000 of the estimated $40,000 we need,” said Terry. “We were under the impression that we would receive matching funds from the district, but have since been told that the funds are no longer available.”
According to Terry, the allocated funds instead went to the replacement of HVAC units and other necessities throughout the district.
“While we understand these are priorities, it is still frustrating,” said Terry. “I do want my kid to learn in an air-conditioned school.”
Stephen Fielder, new principal of Meadowmere, and his wife, Kelly, brought information on a ramped-up walk-a-thon fundraiser to the attention of the PTA, called Apex Fun Run. Apex collaborates with school PTAs and faculty to build student leaders through “a meaningful, ‘hassle-free’ and financially successful school fun run.” It is a leadership and fitness program designed to be a fundraiser for schools.
"Anytime parents and community members can come together for a cause, like the Apex Fun Run, that benefits our students, we are proud to stand behind it,” said Grandview C-4 Public Relations Coordinator Sheba Clarke. “We agree the playground at Meadowmere Elementary needs updates. It has been one of several projects on the Facilities Improvement Team’s list to tackle. Unfortunately, with a limited amount of bond funding, the playground project has taken a back seat to other major projects in our district. In the meantime, all district playgrounds are inspected every month and necessary repairs are always done to keep up with safety standards."
For the past two weeks, Apex has been at Meadowmere engaging with the students and staff through various activities. At the end of the program, the fun run is the culmination of everything learned throughout the two weeks.
“The students are receiving pledge donations for the fun run,” said Terry. “So far, it seems to be working really well, but we’re still a long way off from our goal.”
The current playground at Meadowmere has had items removed due to safety issues and continues to fall apart, according to Terry.
“Fitness and health is so important for our kids,” said Terry. “If they can’t get outside for recess and play on equipment, what’s the point?”
Terry said that the $40,000 goal is simply an estimate. The school has received some bids on the project and a company has been chosen.
“It’s not going to be a huge addition,” said Terry. “It may be something that we start with this summer and then add to over the years as we can.”
Community members can donate to Meadowmere’s playground funds via GoFundMe, or by visiting ApexFunRun.com to pledge.