Thanks to some local Marines, things just got a little cooler for children and staff in the NC Pre-K program at Child Care Network 79B in Jacksonville.
This week the center erected a 20×24 shade on the NC Pre-K playground to help provide the children with some refuge from the sun and a handful of Marines from the MALS 26 Unit aboard Marine Corps Air Station New River joined in to lend a hand.
“We are forever grateful to the Marines that installed our shade cover,” said Deborah Daugherty, Director at Child Care Network 79B. “We had no idea when we asked for help what was required … Without hesitation, the Marines said they will do what they came to do.”
The shade was previously part of the center’s other playground but was not in use. When a member of the One Place Training and Technical Assistance team was on site center staff shared that they were struggling with a solution for how to get the shade put up on the NC Pre-K playground due to its size and the work involved. The One Place staff member reached out to a few connections and was able to secure the Marines for the job.
“Anything to help the kids. It’s all about the kids,” said Master Gunnery Sergeant Brian Weathers.
The volunteers spent two days in the elements weathering summer showers and hot temperatures to get the job done.
“The intense sun on the playground makes it difficult to enjoy our outdoor experience,” Daugherty said. “The shade structure will allow us to be outside rain or shine.”
The shaded area will allow the children some respite from the sun to play in a sandbox or relax reading a book after running and other vigorous outdoor activities. The cover will also allow the center to “bring the classroom outside” and extend children’s learning experiences to the outdoor environment while keeping them protected from harsh sun and rain.
“The students and staff are so excited to be able to be outside under the shade the Marines made possible,” Daugherty said. “The children spoke about how it will be nice to not get wet when we go outside and it’s raining – Although I think the staff is more grateful for the shade it will provide!”