Middle school students, parents, and teachers from Winchester, Lowell, and Newton are teaming up to help build a badly needed playground for 400 middle school age children in Haiti.
We need your help.
Hope for the Children of Haiti Inc., a Newton, MA based non-profit cares for 91 children in residence and operates a K-8 school educating 300 children who live around their facility in the Bolosse section of Port-au-Prince. See project location photos below. HFC has operated successfully in Haiti for 24 years.
The existing play area for these 391 kids is a remarkably small 600 square foot garage bay that doubles as a clothes wash room, vehicle storage, and loading dock.
HFC recently purchased an open lot located directly across from their main building in hopes of one day building a proper playground.
This coming April, a portion of the larger local group of middle school students (and their parents) will be using their school vacation week to help build the new playground. See Our Team.
Service Learning Partnership
In the meantime, a local engineering and landscape architecture firm is using the Haiti Playground Project as a Service Learning event, teaching middle school students in Winchester and Lowell what it takes to design a playground. Waterfield Design Group, Inc. (www.wdgrp.com) is one of the Boston area’s leading designers of public playgrounds and outdoor recreational facilities. Waterfield founder Craig Miller, PE is putting the student’s growing academic skills into practical use while also introducing the U.S. students to Haiti’s wonderful culture, history, cuisine, art, politics and more through a series of hands on classroom lessons. This project-based public school academic exercise allows the students to “learn by doing” while also contributing to the success of the soon to be built Haiti Playground Project.
The Service Learning aspect of the Haiti Playground Project has been wildly successful, energizing the students in ways traditional textbooks cannot. Craig’s lessons are also teaching the importance of being global citizens and what life is like outside of the U.S. and how we can use our skills and abilities to help.
Waterfield Design Group is working with the following groups in the Service Learning aspect of this project:
McCall Middle School, Team Discovery (6th grade) Winchester, MA – approx. 90 students
Pyne Arts Magnet School (6th grade) Lowell, MA – 54 students
Winchester Brownie Troop # 72034 (mostly 4th and 5th grade) – 20 students
With your help, it is our hope to build a first class playground for these extremely needy children. The sketch below is a conceptual level rendering of what we hope can be built on the new land.
Over April school vacation, a group of middle school students and their parents from Winchester and Newton will travel to Haiti to work alongside some very talented Haitian craftsmen to help build the Haiti Playground Project. The team will be led by HFC board member Craig Miller.
The Haiti Playground Project seeks to use materials that are 100% sourced from Haiti and hopes to employ as many as 30 different local Haitian tradespeople. Final classroom lessons will include a curveball, requiring students to ponder what it would take to build their playground in Haiti using only materials that are readily available on their side of the island. We will emphasize the importance of using local labor and materials and the impact this can have for the Bolosse community.
Video postcards will be created on both sides of the ocean, giving the US and Haitian students the chance to get to know one another more closely. The Haiti Playground Project will culminate in April with the Winchester/Newton Family Team volunteering their time and energy to help build the final product. Stay tuned…..