Clubs struggle to raise money for school playground

Stephen Karst, Staff Writer

Current earnings to build a new playground at Eugene Ware Elementary School in Kansas City, Kan., stand at $400.  Future Educators of America (FEA) and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) members hope to raise $15,000 by March.

FCCLA sponsor Donna DeHart said FCCLA and FEA members knew the equipment would be expensive, but did not know how expensive.

Initial cost estimates were around $10,000 but with unforeseen requirements, construction and equipment, the project will now require nearly $15,000.

“We haven’t made as much as maybe we wanted by this time,” DeHart said. “The thing people have to remember is that it takes money to make money. This entire process is for us to learn from. It’s the first time these students have had a big project like this. I am overseeing it, but they are doing most of the work.”

Project members from FCCLA and FEA are employing a variety of fundraising techniques.

“We still haven’t got to our end goal,” senior Carly Thompson said. “We’re contacting companies for fundraisers and applied for district grants. Hopefully those come through pretty big for us.”

DeHart said the money has not been raised yet due to lack of corporate funds.

“We have asked several companies to support us,” she said. “Now that request is just making its way up corporate ladders for approval. Having big companies support us is important because they have the money.”

Junior Hannah Skidmore said she feels the groups have a good idea of what needs to get done in order to make a bigger dent in the cost.

“We sold all of the T-shirts at school, which was awesome, but people and companies asked for shirts and we didn’t have any,” Skidmore said. “So we had to buy more with what we had raised already.”

FCCLA and FEA will sell water bottles for $1 each at TigerFest. There will also be a Project Playground day at Rawhide Harley-Davidson in Olathe where wristbands and shirts will be available. Members also partnered with Church of the Resurrection in order to raise funds.

DeHart said this is a great partnership because the church contributed to projects similar to this before and has given recommendations on architects to work with and suppliers to buy from.

“We are doing a lot of things to raise money, but we can only raise so much on T-shirts,” Thompson said. “So until we get those corporate sponsors we’re going do what we can. This is a great opportunity for me to learn because we are working outside Johnson County and our comfort zones a little. But the experience of getting to work with architects, school and corporation officials is amazing.”

DeHart said she is proud of the groups’ determination.

“Everyone is still very positive and plugging ahead,” DeHart said. “I know that even if this turns into a two-year project it will still be a huge success because of the impact it will have on Eugene’s community and the students.”

Senior Lauren Kats said the groups’ plan to go to Eugene Ware in early March. Seventy-five raffle winners will accompany the Project Playground group to assist in construction.

“I can’t wait to actually go there and build it,” Kats said. “It’s seemed like a really long process already, but I know there is still a long way to go.”