I congratulate you and all of my fellow volunteers for completing this wonderful project. I was there on Saturday from 8am to 5pm and experienced a delightfully productive day. I returned on my bicycle to visit for a few minutes late yesterday and observed the vast change that occurred in the prior 2 days. The skills, enthusiasm, humor, and courage I observed among the young volunteers is encouraging. I use my social contact to share skills from my many decades of experience, and to fulfill my assignments after becoming a NDE survivor with a traumatic brain injury. Saturday was a therapeutic day for me. I helped dig holes and install slides. I encouraged co-workers to "show up", to be an advocate, to "Be Superman/Be Superwoman", to be a role model prepared to make a difference in another's life. I grew up in small-town America in our mid-West. Your project creates a sense of community I've missed for most of the past 38 years of adult life living and working here in Maryland.
- My 6 year old son, Nigel Gustave, went into his piggy bank and withdrew $25.00 to buy a picket to help build the playground. He was so disappointed because he was too young to be on the site and he really wanted to help. He had seen me work a couple of shifts and make some food to feed the volunteers. I read him a newspaper article about the progress of the playground and that there was money that still needed to be raised. He offered money he had earned caring for a neighbors cat, watering her plants and bringing in her mail. I'm so proud of him! He can't wait to see his picket!
- My husband and I spent the afternoon working at the playground! We were joined by my 13 year old mentee, Adjana. Adjana had asked if she could work at the Stadium because she thought she needed additional community service hours. When we met up with her this morning, she told us that she found at that she did not need the hours after all because she'd fulfilled her school's requirements, but, she wanted to work anyway!! And boy did she work!
We spent four hours digging a 4" deep, 2"wide "trench" around the outside perimeter of the playground. We were worked alongside a crew of 20+ folks from Comcast. The work was tough - tougher than I'd expected - but we had an absolute ball! At the end of our shift, all of the Comcast folks gathered at the top of the slope just above the playground for what I thought would be a way for the Comcast team leader to thank her team. We were shocked and delighted when the team leader presented a $5,000 contribution to the Stadium Playground effort! Just marvelous!
The "Miracle on 33rd Street" that we are all witnessing is not just the gift giving and the tremendous financial support. And, the miracle is not just that the playground is being built. The real miracle, for me, is WHO is building the playground and WHO is supporting the effort. That persons of every religion, race, ethnicity, industry, faith, gender, age, business, etc. are working together to make this happen is a marvelous miracle! Indeed!
My family is happy to be part of the effort! We'll be back this week, if still needed!
-"Salandjam" Dana Moore