This work is child’s play

There’s no better way to mark a milestone than by doing what you do best.

That’s the philosophy of the Rotary Club of Alderwood, part of Rotary International – the worldwide network of nonprofit, philanthropic organizations.

The Alderwood club, based in Lynnwood, is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Rotary International by pitching in money, time and labor to build new structures for a preschool playground at Edmonds Community College’s Center for Families.

The new features include a trike and bike path, a river-rock creek and a bridge, and a play structure that doubles as a theatrical stage.

The features were designed by two landscape architecture classes based on feedback from those who use the center, instructor Polly Hankin said.

Projects for youths have been the focus of fund-raising for the Rotary club for 15 years, member Dick Jansen said.

“We have a long-running and long-standing relationship with the community college,” he said.

For instance, club member Steve Ferrill co-chaired the capital campaign committee that helped raise the money for the EdCC Center for Families, a $4 million child care facility that opened in 2003, Jansen said.

The center needed some play equipment for small children, said Gail Davenport, the center’s education coordinator.

“Some of the things that have been missing from the play area are structures for the kids to invent their play around,” Davenport said.

Structures help “move the kids into experiencing the different edges of the play area,” she said. “It keeps them from running in circles as much.”

The club members raised $5,000 for the playground, which is called “Huck Finn’s backyard.”

The contribution was matched by Rotary District 5030, the overall club for the area, and Rotary of Seattle 4, Alderwood club president Elizabeth Collins Stevenson said.

Approximately 30 club members, their families and college staff installed the features on Saturday.

Many of the children and grandchildren of Rotary members have used the day care center, providing extra incentive for the playground project.

Plus, “we had a desire as a club to do some physical, hands-on work,” Jansen said. “It meets our skill levels.”

Reporter Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439 or sheets@heraldnet.com.

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