Children at the Napa Valley College Child Development Center received a wonderful gift from the Napa community when Kiwanis Club of Napa volunteers joined college staff to install a new climbing structure on the program's playground on June 2-3.
Center director Darrell Whitacre said the service club (#kidsneedkiwanis) saved the college about $10,000, thanks to Kiwanians who helped dig holes, remove old structures and concrete, assemble new equipment and recycle sand.
"That's money we can spend working with kids and their teachers, instead," said Whitacre.
Head Groundskeeper Gil Nixon and Maintenance Mechanic/Carpenter Duane Almeida joined the Kiwanians, along with groundskeepers Scott Watts and George Calderon.
The playground is the 66th in Napa County built by the local service club since 1974, when the first was constructed at McPherson Elementary School. Each is worth $30,000 to $60,000, according to Jim Roberts, the club's 90-year-old playground "guru."
"He's our best marketing agent," said club president Frank Carr.
"When the guru, Jim, told us his story, it gave us motivation to work, to see him in action," said club member Jennifer Winters. "We have to learn the tradition, to carry it on."
Former Napa Superior Court Judge Steve Kroyer explained why he gave up a Saturday to work on the playground.
"There's nothing better than building playgrounds for kids to enjoy," he said.
The new climbing structure will provide the children in the Child Development Center with wonderful opportunities to build motor skills, strengthen neural pathways, and learn social cooperation.
Roberts said four more playgrounds are scheduled for completion by the end of 2018, including two for the Napa Parks and Recreation Department and two for the Napa Valley Unified School District.
"It's nice to feel like you're leaving a legacy in Napa," said Roberts. "When I'm older and can't do this anymore I'll go around and say, 'I helped put smiles on the faces' of kids."