Third time was the charm for Seaford Manor Elementary School, located in Seaford, NY. After coming in second in two playground contests, the school was recently named the winner of the Together Counts Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes. As director of sales for the eastern region, I was lucky enough to be present when the announcement was made to the students about their new playground.
The Together Counts program was created by Discovery Education and the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), a national coalition designed to help reduce obesity, particularly childhood obesity, by 2015. In 2010 Playworld Systems became an associate member of the organization. That same year, Seaford Elementary’s 25-year-old wooden playground was torn down because it was deemed unsafe.
For three years, the PTA worked to raise money for a new playground. In March of 2013, PTA member Kathy Mertz found out about the Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes – with just two weeks to go before the contest submission period closed. After confirming the school was eligible to participate, she contacted the co-president of the PTA who then encouraged school administration to enter.
Being present for the award presentation was a wonderful experience. When the faculty and students heard they had been awarded a new playground, everyone was very excited. You could see the kids’ eyes light up! As I walked out after the presentation, the students came up to me and thanked me over and over again for their new equipment.
All of us at Playworld Systems agree it is so important to recognize the impact and value play provides. It was wonderful to see the sincere outpouring of appreciation the school’s administrators, students and teachers conveyed to the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation and Playworld Systems. We could see how genuinely they share our belief that the world needs play.