Volunteers help with the Naturalized Playground renovation to provide the families and children living at Bethlehem Housing in Niagara access to a natural, outdoor learning space in their own backyard.
St. Catharines, ON – During Volunteer Appreciation Week, Bethlehem Housing and Support Services had over 40 volunteers from Brock University’s Staff and Faculty. They helped to begin prepping the site for the revitalization and redevelopment of the Bethlehem Place playground and extended yard, to create an inclusive naturalized environment and play area.
Brock University Staff and Faculty make it a priority to get involved for National Volunteer Week. This year they selected Bethlehem Housing as one of their charities of choice. They assisted with the removal of over 5,000 interlocking brick, relocation of plants and shrubs, cleaning up garbage around the buildings, and sweeping debris as it occurs from the walkways. Kristen Smith, Manager of Student and Community Outreach says “Brock University is pleased to partner with Bethlehem Housing and Support Services to support the important work they are doing in our community for local families. By participating in the United Way’s Day of Caring program, staff from across the campus had a chance to meet each other and work together while gaining a better understanding of the services available in our community.”
In addition to Brock University, last week we had a group of students from the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) who also volunteered their time to help prep the existing area to be transformed. LiUNA Local 837 provides the Construction Craft Worker Apprenticeship program to the OYAP students from the Hamilton Catholic and Public School Boards in the Hamilton area. They removed a 3-foot high concrete retaining wall, large tree stumps, and a metal fence. These two groups volunteered a total of 162 hours to help prep the site for the build of the new Natural Playground and the value of their contributions was over $5,200.
We would also like to recognize a group of students in the Broadcasting Program at Niagara College who volunteered their time several months ago to create a promotional video for the Naturalized Playground, valued at $5,000.
This naturalized play space will facilitate participation in our Early Learning Centre programs that will enhance development for children and improve the quality of life for families that live at Bethlehem Place and in the surrounding area. The playground is designed with all ages and levels of ability of participants in mind and will include natural features and learning elements built to last a lifetime on natural surfaces and surroundings.
Thank you to our sponsors for providing funding and in-kind donations for the build of the Naturalized Playground: Wise Guys Charity Fund, Meridian Credit Union, Niagara Community Foundation, Merritton Lions Club, May Court Club, and Land Care Niagara.