Community’s actions rewarded with new playground at Foster Elementary
- Written by Caroline Giese
The entire Humble ISD community was struck hard when arsonists hit the Foster Elementary playground in the early morning of July 4, 2009. One of the playgrounds, which was built in 1998, was burned to the ground and the community was left speechless. “It could take a PTA or PTO several years to raise the funds needed for an expensive piece of equipment like this,” said Executive Director of Public Information for Humble ISD Karen Collier at the time of the fire. Thanks to the three largest contributors (Foster PTA, Planet Ford and Be An Angel Fund), it took less than a year to complete fund raising with a grand total of $70,034. On May 20, Foster Elementary held a ribbon cutting ceremony unveiling the new playground and showcased the top proponents for the construction of the new playground. Kingwood resident Vernon Reed helped to spearhead the community’s campaign to come together and raise money to rebuild the playground. Car washes and lemonade stands raked in thousands of dollars, all headed by the children of Foster and the Foster PTA. Students began selling their stuffed animals to raise more funds for the cause. The enthusiasm shown by the children to be a part of the reconstructing is what truly gave the fund raising the kick start it needed. “When people say ‘kids today!’ I’ll say, I know...they’re awesome,” said chair of the Foster Elementary Playground Committee Sarah Stevens. Randall Reed, owner of Planet Ford, stepped up to the plate when he heard about the catastrophe and Planet Ford donated a check for $25,000 to the rebuilding of the playground. “Without the community, we don’t know if we would be here,” said Reed. A vibrant blue, the playground won’t fade into the back of the community’s mind. Boasting four slides and a plaque where children can learn to read Braille, the playground rebuilding fund was assisted by a $20,000 donation from Be An Angel. The organization helps ensure that all children are able to fully enjoy outdoor play by building barrier-free playgrounds. Wheelchair ramps were built for easy access into the playground area and further onto the actual equipment. “We are very excited the kids have their playground back. This is the 24th playground Be An Angel has built in its 23-year history, with our largest playground at Lindsay Lions,” said chairman of the executive committee of Be An Angel Bill Shank. “Be An Angel has a great partnership with Humble ISD and we look forward to future projects.” Key community members participating in the playground project were Foster Elementary Principal Terri VeDepo, incoming chair for Humble ISD Education Foundation Carrie Brinsden, Randall Reed and Chuck Kramer of Planet Ford, chairman of the Board of Be An Angel Fund Bill Shank, chair of the Foster Elementary Playground Committee Sarah Stevens, current Foster Elementary School PTO Amy Bujnock and Vice President of business development for the Astros John Sorrentino. Robert Scarfo and Dr. Bonnie Longion represented the Humble ISD Board of Trustees at the ribbon cutting. Just in time for summer, the entire community is now welcome to soak up some sun and enjoy the newly constructed playground. Photo: Contributors in the rebuilding of the Foster playground, joined students during the ribbon cutting ceremony for a turn down one of four slides on the new playground.