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Feb 13, 2017

Unity Presbyterian Has a New Playground…

A school on the Southside got their dream playground courtesy the Rotary Club of Edmonton. Through an ongoing partnership with the Rotary Club of Belize, three other schools have received their playgrounds and Unity Presbyterian joined those lucky schools today when their own little park was opened on their school grounds. This playground will not only serve the school, but also the community. News Five’s Andrea Polanco was at today’s official opening. Here’s that story:

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Unity Presbyterian Primary School was gifted with a playground – the fourth school in Belize City to receive a gift of this kind. For this south side Belize City school – a park is something they’ve always wanted and a major upgrade from the tiny set they used before. Principal Carolyn Betson explains how using this playground will benefit her two hundred plus students – in more ways than just fun.

 

Carolyn Betson

Carolyn Betson, Principal, Unity Presbyterian Primary

“First of all, it is a dream. We saw it other places and we longed to have one like this. A park is more than a place for fun. It is good for children who are slow and need a break. But the park builds the activities in here; builds the big muscles; it helps them with social skills; cognitive; problem solving challenges. So, it is more than that. And for our community, where you know it is a little bit depressing so much happening, it is a place where they can come and have fun and enjoy themselves.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“The students – in terms of what they used to do before they got this park – where would they have fun; what would they do on a normal day during break?”

 

Carolyn Betson

“Well, sorry to say we had a little one over there and only the little children were allowed to use that. With this park, it is much bigger and so now the older children all have an opportunity to use this and enjoy it.”

 

A brand new structure like this one would cost around a hundred thousand US dollars, but this school got this one for free with the help of a number of rotary clubs and partners. This playground was sourced from a park in Alberta, Canada. After it is used there, parks in good condition are salvaged and donated to schools like Unity Presbyterian. The donation comes through the Edmonton Rotary Club as a part of an ongoing four year initiative with schools across the city.

 

Rod Karius

Rod Karius, Chairman International Service Committee, Edmonton Rotary Club

“So, this particular playground came in fall and it was in a community in Southern Alberta that actually was flooded in the spring of three years ago. So, the playground where this structure stood in was washed away but the structure itself wasn’t damaged. So, it was taken out of the ground and brought here. Seven Rotarians and three Interactors came here on Wednesday and we spent three and half days working with the local Rotary clubs, in particular, Francis Woods and his company Cisco Construction, they provided a lot of the tools and equipment. So, they worked three and half days to erect the playground here.”

 

This playground will also be used by the community:

 

Rod Karius

“It’s a blessing for them because some parents don’t take their children out and so this is an opportunity too for their children to come and find a relaxed time and have fun.  Playground also benefits the community. So, although we are talking about the school, the community at large can benefit from this; families can come here and spend time and strengthen the community, so it has multiple benefits.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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