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LDS Church Helps Rebuild Kid Country Playground in Coppell
On Saturday, October 7th, over 110 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participated in a construction shift at the Coppell Kid Country Playground. The shift lasted from 8 am to 10:30 am. Many participants stayed throughout the day. The LDS church’s efforts coincided with “Build Week” at the facility. Build Week was a key phase in the Coppell City Council’s Kid Country 2012 initiative to re-build the 19-year old park. Located in Andy Brown Park East, the playground has been especially loved by local children.
Throughout Build Week, members from LDS Coppell congregations (wards) helped with child care, food service, construction, art, and design projects. The members were very noticeable in their bright yellow “Mormon Helping Hands” t-shirts.
Women from the LDS Coppell Third Ward were particularly instrumental. Deb Scofield and Olivia Cangelosi helped serve lunch to volunteers on Tuesday – the first day of construction. They spoke with Kid Country food coordinators while at the park. Side dishes were needed for the Friday evening dinner later in the week. Deb and Olivia offered to help. They were asked to provide baked beans. “No problem,” they said, “We can do that.” The coordinators were a little doubtful. “You’ll really do baked beans? For 150 people? Can we really count on you?” The coordinators expressed their gratitude when the beans were delivered as planned. Karina Little, Melissa DeGuire, Katie Anderson, Holly Poulsen, and Hannah Ryan organized child care. They brought together volunteers from across the community. Help came from high-school students, two Girls Scout troops, the Coppell Aquatic and Recreation Center staff, and several local individuals and business owners. Katie Anderson enjoyed seeing the reaction of the children who watched the park being built. For her, the project was “an unforgettable service opportunity.”
Laura Markham, also a member of the LDS Coppell Third Ward, serves on the Kid Country 2012 steering committee. She works with local schools, churches, and youth organizations. One of Laura’s duties involves the Kid Country 2012 Children’s Committee. The committee includes about 30 Coppell area children who work on posters, parades, and thank you notes. They are currently working on a time capsule.
Laura feels her efforts have been very rewarding. “My experience with this project has connected me with the community in countless ways,” she says. “I’m sure the same is true for many of our [church’s] members.” She hopes to participate in additional community projects in the future. For her, this community service has been “challenging, enjoyable, and deeply fulfilling.”
The local LDS church has had an ongoing relationship with Kid Country. In July, for example, church youth completed a weekday service project. They collected approximately 1,100 names from pickets and equipment at the original Kid Country facility. The names identify original contributors to the park. A new plaque will memorialize these names in the updated playground. About 30 youth and 20 leaders attended.