RAHWAY, NJ — Franklin Elementary School in Rahway recently debuted a child-designed, state-of-the-art playground. The months-long collaboration between Franklin Elementary, Popsicle and Kaboom! culminated during the last week of the school year, as more than 120 volunteers installed the new play space, which will offer more than 600 children a high-quality, safe place to play that is close to where they live and learn.
The new playground was a collaborative effort by numerous community members, including children, who presented creative ideas for their dream playground during a design day in June. The playground is inspired by those drawings and will provide play space equity for hundreds of kids and their families with a place to get active, build social bonds and gather as a community.
Many individuals played integral roles in creating this project. Aleya Shoieb, the principal of Franklin School, and Linda Lampert, Franklin School’s technology facilitator, initiated the project by writing a grant that got the ball rolling. Michele Anastos, Lindsey Barrett, Susan Dilollo, Susan Farrar, Nicole Sugzda, Vice Principal Juan Miao and PTA President Shavon Smith-Simons were all essential in recruiting volunteers and securing food donations. Lead custodian Michael Dedinsky secured all the necessary tools and materials for the playground construction. Edward Kushpa, Rahway Public Schools manager of buildings and grounds, was instrumental in securing Whirl Construction, a playground installation company, to excavate and prepare the area. Kaboom!’s project managers, Bicki Rudd and Katy Davis, met with the team weekly to make sure that the project ran smoothly.
Among the volunteers who participated during the three-day build were many of the school’s staff members, students, PTA members, district administrators, Board of Education members, Rahway Mayor Raymond Giacobbe, Rahway police officers and members of the Rahway Fire Department.
During the course of the three days, several Rahway and surrounding area restaurants and businesses donated food and drinks for the volunteers. “We are eternally grateful to all who participated and made this event a huge success,” said Shoieb.
Photos Courtesy of Linda Lampert