Construction of a Community Playground

  • Community Growth
  • Youth
  • Dominican Republic
This project is led by Ashley Pinamonti, a Volunteer from Pennsylvania

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The planning meeting.
Ashley and her counterparts are working to construct a community playground for local children.
Over ten years ago, the local government of my small Dominican town began a project to build a community playground. The project was never completed and these days children play in the weeds or street for lack of a better place. In this growing community with two elementary schools and one high school, but no playgrounds or spaces for younger children, parents and guardians have expressed a serious need for a safe play space. The local Neighborhood Council, a group of community members established in 2014, have decided that it’s time to take the project into the community’s hands. Through the dedication of this active group of residents, a new playground project has begun. Grant funding will be used to create a safe play space for young children between the ages of 3 and 13. This playground is the first phase of a larger public park plan which the Neighborhood Council and community leaders will continue to raise funds for after the playground has been completed, utilizing it as a catalyst for further community development. In addition to the project being managed by a Neighborhood Council, the community will support the project through donations and volunteer labor. The local government has already donated the land for the playground and youth will help with pre-project litter clean-up. Your support will help the Neighborhood Council and community members to convert a large, underutilized plot of land into a family-friendly area that the community can be proud of.

This project was initiated by the Neighborhood Council, a community group comprised of members from the local area, where the empty lot and the playground will be located. They approached the Peace Corps volunteer with the idea for the project and have been the driving force from the start. The Council showed their commitment to the project by first laying the groundwork through the reorganization of their group, election of new officers who were more committed to its mission, establishment of a more regular meeting schedule, and involvement of additional community members. 

After a discussion of steps that would need to be taken to make the project a reality, a member of the Council took on the responsibility of coordinating a meeting with the Mayor to get official permission from the local government to use their plot of land for the project. A delegation of the Council President, Vice President, Secretary, and two additional members, along with the Peace Corps volunteer and the Director of Culture and Sports, attended a meeting with the Mayor and received official permission to continue with the project and to construct the playground on land owned by the local government. 

After receiving permission, the Neighborhood Council held a brainstorming session to determine what the park should include. The President, alongside the Peace Corps volunteer, then met with an engineer from a nearby city to share the group’s ideas. The engineer has taken this input into consideration to draw up a design for the project and a proposed budget. In the meantime, the Council has formed four committees, including Membership Growth, Fundraiser Planning, Donation Solicitation, and Volunteer Management. The Membership Growth committee will be in charge of maintaining and growing the membership base of the group and ensuring that the community is informed about upcoming meetings. The Fundraiser Planning committee will be organizing a community fundraiser to help support the project. The Donation Solicitation committee will be soliciting the local government, businesses, and organizations for both monetary and material donations. The Volunteer Management committee will recruit and coordinate volunteer workers for the project and will also be in charge of involving local youth in lower-skilled tasks such as litter clean-up and land preparation. This playground is a small component of a larger community project to construct a playground, pavilion, bathrooms, and exercise area on the land donated by the local government. 

The Neighborhood Council has shown clear dedication to the success of this project and will continue to serve as the driving force throughout. As the project progresses, more and more community members will become involved, making this a truly grassroots, community-initiated and community-run proposal. 

The Neighborhood Council is an established community group that has been in place since 2014. They will be in charge of monitoring the park and looking out for its general upkeep. To supplement their efforts, the Neighborhood Council will solicit the local government to manage necessary tasks such as trash collection and lawn mowing, which are tasks that the government already manages for other community properties. Furthermore, the Neighborhood Council and Project Committee members have already begun soliciting local foundations to support the continued development of the land where the playground will be located. This playground is the first phase of a long-term project that will continue after the Peace Corps volunteer has left. 

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