St. Bernard Parish Community Playground

Lauren Faust  |  4/18/2008 9:08:02 PM

St. Bernard Parish 4-H Club members descended on Torres Park in Chalmette, Louisiana to assist in the Re-Build, Re-Pair, Re-Boot of the St. Bernard Parish Community Playground on April 9-13, 2008. The playground received extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina where it was covered by approximately twenty-two feet of water. The area was under water for two weeks until the water receded and then was covered in storm debris and mud. After the storm, the park was surrounded by FEMA trailers where parish government employees lived as they rebuilt St. Bernard. In January of 2008, just as the trailers were being removed from the park, the playground sustained a fire set by an arsonist. About one-third of the playground was destroyed.

Just as in 2003, when the 12,000 square foot playground was built, the community rallied to restore it for the youth of St. Bernard Parish. The 4-H Club members were part of a large group of nearly 1500 volunteers who worked for five days to rebuild the playground.

Thirty two 4-H Jr. Leaders and younger club members volunteered 228 hours to rebuilding the playground. 4-H Jr. Leaders began preparing for the playground build by participating in the Playground Design Day in January. Club members also helped recruit volunteers by hosting a sign up table at the unveiling of the new playground design. Jr. Leaders also helped by participating in the volunteer call-a-thon, answering volunteer emails and organizing the work day schedules.

During the playground build days, Jr. Leader Club members spread rock and mulch, rolled out felt liner, painted, sanded, routed, drilled and hammered all week to help make the playground build a success. 4-H Club Members from Chalmette High School, Chalmette 8th Grade Club, Trist Middle School and Lynn Oaks participated with their clubs during the week. Jr. Leader Club members took on leadership roles directing other 4-H Club members in specific tasks. When asked why she had spent 24 hours helping rebuild the playground, Jr. Leader Club Vice President Mary Beth Tamor replied she "enjoyed restoring a part of St. Bernard that had been destroyed, so that younger children could have a safe, fun environment to play, and be kids."
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