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El Paso County Colorado District 49

New playground for homeschool program

A student-driven effort to create a new playground for Falcon School District 49ís Homeschool Enrichment Program paid off. On May 18, volunteers set up a playground worth $26,500 from Childrenís Playstructures and Recreation on the enrichment programís property at 7545 Mohawk Road in Colorado Springs, Colo.Jessica McAllister, FHEP program manager, said students decided their environment needed a playground. ìThey started researching grants they could apply for,î McAllister said. ìWe had a grant writer from the Pikes Peak Library District help them. They started this unwavering dedication to the cause.îMcAllister said this type of collaborative problem solving is a key element of the FHEP mission. ìOur mission is to provide resources and academically engaging, friendship-building opportunities to homeschooled students in a nurturing and respectful environment,î she said. ìItís the idea of teaching kids that they can be creative and can think critically and solve problems and collaborate.îAs the students were figuring out ways to fund the playground, McAllister said she received an email about a Facebook competition that awarded money to organizations with the most posts on Facebook.ìThis was our opportunity,î McAllister said. ìWe posted a picture, and our students were voting and encouraging votes. Some even went door to door.îShe said local businesses donated to the cause: a $20 gift card from Swirly Cow Frozen Yogurt; a $50 Visa card from Falcon Auto Service; two weeks of free yoga from Cambio Yoga; one dozen doughnuts from Southern Maid Doughnuts; and 40 boxed lunches from Panera Bread.ìCommunity support was absolutely critical,î McAllister said.

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