Volunteers donate time to build playground

June 9, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The gift-givers are community members who built the playground by hand. It's how they show their "Spirit of Giving."

"I thought it was gonna be very fun, and I couldn't wait to get on the slides," said 9-year-old Tamara Hernendez.

The slide is a big hit for children in North Berwyn.

"The monkey bars are great," said another 9-year-old, Joseph Guerrero.

Those monkey bars are exactly the features children who play at the North Berwyn Park District said they wanted.

Back in April, dozens of children came together to design their dream playground. It's part of a partnership with the Walt Disney Company, which owns ABC7, and KaBOOM!. KaBOOM !is a national non-profit organization that uses volunteers to build playgrounds in just one day.

Last Saturday was the big day. Some 200 volunteers spent the day assembling piece by piece until a muddy field became a brand new playground.

"I look at all of the kids in the neighborhood and all of the kids in the park district as my kids," said recreation supervisor Inara Canino. "So to know that I can bring them to somewhere that's safe for them, somewhere that everything that is in here was very carefully planned with them specifically in mind, just makes me very proud to be a part of this community."

There are still a few finishing touches that will be added before the park opens to the public this weekend.

"We'll completely surround the playground in fence for security reasons. Obviously with the proximity of the streets close by we want to make this the safest it can be. We're putting in sod and also some sidewalks, so it's completely handicap accessible," said Joseph Vallez, executive director of the North Berwyn Park District.

The children seem to appreciate the hard work being done on their behalf.

"I think they're very nice to do that for us," said Amaya Medina, 8.

The North Berwyn Park District will host its official grand opening on Saturday morning at 9:45. The park will be named in honor of the late alderman Ben Brocato, who died during his third term.

Disney is sponsoring projects like this one in a dozen cities around the country through its Magic of Healthy Living initiative.

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