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The building for the Westside Boys & Girls Club (officially called the El Pomar Unit) can be seen in the background in this photo taken during the volunteer construction of the new playground in a corner of the athletic field July 25.

Major volunteer project builds new playground for Westside Boys & Girls Club

       With the help of nearly 200 volunteers at a late-July workday, the El Pomar Boys & Girls Club has a new playground for its kids to use.
       The roughly seven-hour project, under hot summer skies, built a new mulch- padded area of about 500 square feet and installed seven equipment pieces in it.
       The El Pomar unit, off Manitou Boulevard at 805 Pradeira Ave., is the Westside location for the Boys & Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region, which has three sites in all. With a capacity for 150 children (ages 5-18), El Pomar provides programs, study assistance and play facilities after school and during the summer months.
       The playground project was accomplished in collaboration with KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit
Volunteers rake and shovel the last of the mulch for the Boys & Girls Club playground (behind them) during the project July 25.
that builds custom playgrounds; and a volunteer wing of UnitedHealthcare (UHC), a major national company. Volunteers also came from club staff, member families and people from the community - including Bristol Principal Manuel Ramsey, who said his school has numerous students who go to El Pomar.
       In addition, the club had to raise $8,500 for its share of the equipment costs. “This effort was a success with the help of several local businesses… and many individual donations from community members,” said club spokesperson Lauren Hebert. “We are still working on developing a $1,500-$2,000 maintenance fund to provide for any future repairs or updates.”
       As part of the effort, the old playground was removed. Its equipment - installed in a 2006 community service project - “was not suitable for the age range or number of children we serve,” Hebert explained. “This new playground will be large enough to provide play space for more children. It has space for disabled and special needs children, which our old one did not include.”
       Another feature of the new playground is that it was designed with input from families that use the El Pomar club. As part of that process, “we had kids draw their dream playground,” commented Katie Applebaum, the project manager from KaBoom! One of the pieces, a shade structure, will allow a place where parents or other family members can sit while the children play, she pointed out.
       This was the 17th playground project around the country in which UHC and KaBoom! have joined forces. For UHC, building playgrounds is tied in with the company's health theme, elaborated Tim Ray, the vice president of the agency's Midwest Subregion. “We're also hoping,” he said, “that when parents see their kids using the equipment, they might start thinking, 'When's the last time I was in the gym?'”
       To join the El Pomar Boys & Girls Club, registration is available through the website for a $10 fee. Costs after that are $5 for the week or $3 for a one-day drop-in. Transportation is up to the individual. The website is bgcppr.org. The phone is 570-7077.
Most of the new playground pieces are visible in a view during the July 25 workday at the El Pomar (Westside) Boys & Girls Club facility.

Westside Pioneer article and photos
(Posted 8/27/15; Community: Groups/Clubs)

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