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Students’ Dream of Fixing up Playground Becoming Reality

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Students’ Dream of Fixing up Playground Becoming Reality
Posted on 06/12/2015
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Two Lyman Moore Middle School students, Atak Natali and Divine Macibiri, have organized a Front Street Playground Fix-Up Day for Saturday, June 13, to which students, staff and community volunteers are invited. The goal of the event at the city-owned Front Street Housing complex at 34 West Presumpscot St. is to make the playground as clean and safe as possible.

Among tasks volunteers will take on that day are painting the play structures, putting in new swings and also new wood chips. Building some new garden beds for families who want them may also be accomplished.

The event will run from 8 a.m. until noon. The rain date is Sunday, June 14.

Divine and Atak have said the complex’s playground is dirty and unsafe. The two students and many of their schoolmates live at the complex, which has 50 family apartments and is owned by the Portland Housing Authority. Improvements the students envision range from a new coat of paint for the play structures to a new basketball court.

The two students came up with a vision to improve the playground while participating in Make It Happen!, a  program of the Portland Public Schools’ Multilingual and Multicultural Center. The students’ efforts have including winning a $500 grant from Painting for a Purpose, a local organization that funds youth-led initiatives that make a difference in the community, to help with the playground project. They also met with some Housing Authority staff to discuss their ideas. The Housing Authority has donated wood chips, new swings, paint and equipment, plus hours of prep work doing such tasks as sanding the play structures. The students also sent a letter to Dajuan Eubanks, president of the Maine Red Claws basketball team. Eubanks and members of his staff met with the students and expressed an interest in becoming involved with the project.