26th May2010

Dolphin Heights goes KaBOOM!

by dhna

photo by Anisha Steephen

After months of waiting and weeks of planning, Dolphin Heights FINALLY has a brand new playground!

The Dolphin Heights Neighborhood Association partnered with KaBOOM! to build the very first playground in our community and it is finally here! KaBOOM! is a national non-profit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America through the  participation and leadership of communities.

A few weeks ago in March we met our wonderful KaBoom! Project Manager Kevin Skolnik who guided us through our playground building process. On Design Day, neighborhood kids met at the Belay house and drew their dream playgrounds. Afterwards, Kevin helped the adults choose pieces that reflected the kids’ visions then came back to us with the design for our new playground which we could not wait to build!

In preparation for our big Build Day, members from the community, bcWORKSHOP, EDCO, and the Home Depot spent hours of their time recruiting volunteers, searching for food and water donations, and planning out the logistics for the day. Thanks to them our Build Day- May 20th was a success!!

On Build Day, nearly 250 volunteers arrived at 8am and got straight to work. Pushed by the music of 2 DJ’s, we all had a blast as we painted murals, mixed cement, put up a fence, and of course put together all the colorful pieces of our playground!   Even with the afternoon rain, I cannot believe we completed the entire playground at 1:30pm, only 6 hrs after starting!

photo by Anna Hill

photo by Anna Hill

After letting the playground cement dry for 72 hours, the kids finally got to play on their new playground — check out their reaction!

photo by Luis Gonzalez

photo by Luis Gonzalez

photo by Luis Gonzalez

This of course could not have been possible without the help of our many generous donors!

Extra Special Thanks go to :

KaBOOM! , The Home Depot Foundation, East Dallas Community Organization, Dallas Foundation, Central Dallas Ministries, Dallas Leadership Foundation, Foundation for Community Empowerment, City of Dallas, East Dallas Christian Church, Live Oak State Bank, Walgreens- Ross Ave, Jack and Meredith Woodworth, Jacob and Anita Steephen, buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, PepsiCo/FritoLay, Quaker Oats, Kroger Foods, Jason’s Deli, Tacao Cabana, and the Whole Foods Market.

Anisha Steephen, Dolphin Heights Community Coordinator

26th May2010

The Mulch Master

by dhna

I am the “mulch master.” I’m not bragging, merely being honest.

In the days leading up to Thursday’s big KaBOOM! build day, the bcCORPS team volunteered to serve as “build captains.” Some helped put the playground equipment together, others agreed to supervise the painting of the enormous fence mural, while others volunteered to lead the teams that were to construct park benches and tables. I’m not sure why I did it, but I agreed to be part of the group that was to move a huge mountain of mulch from the adjacent lot to the main playground area. I guess I didn’t think it would be that difficult.

Well, it was. Despite having a team of a dozen or so volunteers, moving the giant pile of mulch was a back-breaking effort. Making the task a bit more complicated, my team and I had to move the mulch using large, blue tarps, as the concrete pouring team were using all of the available wheel-barrows. We started around eight-thirty in the morning, and I figured that we could finish in time for lunch.

I was unmistakably wrong. Big time.

Three hours in, my back was aching, my arms were going numb, and my legs were starting to give in. Lunch could not come soon enough. When it finally did, it consisted of sitting down for fifteen minutes, gobbling my sandwich, and getting back to work. Luckily, the event attracted a lot of dedicated volunteers from Home Depot, other local organizations, and the community, who were willing to get down and dirty and work arduously. With the help of all of these amazing individuals, the mulch team finished the job by 1:30 pm—in spite of an hour and a half of heavy rain.

By the time three o’clock rolled around, the sun was out, the playground was completely finished, and the volunteers were weary but in good spirits. Together we helped Dolphin Heights obtain its first playground, an area that will be a refuge for the area’s kids to have fun for many years to come. And though working on the mulch team was a dirty, excruciating, very unglamorous job, it felt great to know that my team’s work will go a long way in ensuring that children will be safe when playing on the swings or climbing the monkey bars.

I am the indisputable mulch master; I have the fancy button to prove it. However, I obviously could not have done it alone. Many thanks go out to all of the volunteers who came out to the neighborhood and gave up an entire day to help out with such a remarkable effort.

Luis Gonzalez bcCORPS Coordinator & Contributing Writer