It was a project driven by the kids. The Grade 3 class at MC Knoll school were the start of a project that came to completion recently, to get a new, wheelchair accessible swing installed at the school.
Teacher Mark Schendel said that it all began with a bracelet. Schendel’s son was taught how to make rubber loom bracelets by a classmate. With the bracelets being a big trend among students at the school, Schendel got the idea to use the craft as part of a larger project.
Students in Grade 3 were excited about making the bracelets, especially with the goal of making the school a better place. They would meet at noon to make the bracelets in school colors – black, white and teal – with some older students doing some finishing work. They sold them, whether from Schendel’s backpack, from tables at student-led conferences or Christmas concerts. The kids brought in almost $1,500 from selling the bracelets.
But a quality swingset is not a cheap one, so while the project began with students it quickly included the community as a whole. The Kinsmen Telemiracle Foundation contributed $4,500 to the project. The Cornerstone Credit Union bought bracelets in bulk, buying 80 bracelets for the students for $400. Access Communications contributed from their children’s fund, contributing $1,000. The total raised was over $8,000, with NL Construction buying bracelets for employees as well as doing all of the work on the project. Flaman provided donated construction fencing for safety, and Yorkton Concrete helped with the landscaping.
The set is a combination of traditional swings and the wheelchair accessible component, which Schendel explained was a deliberate choice. The goal is to get kids of all ability to play together.
“I truly believe there is such a social component with getting physical activity and exercise... There’s that ear test, where I can hear the laughter and the conversation between those kids, that’s very important, and very impactful to an individual that they have that social opportunity.”
While the school doesn’t currently have any students in a wheelchair, Schendel said they want to be proactive and prepared for any potential students in the future, and have the school as a welcoming place for any student who might benefit from the new swing. They have already extended an open invitation to the neighboring St. Michael’s School, because there are students there who can benefit, and Schendel hopes to see kids using it outside of school hours as well.
“It’s an MC Knoll piece of playground equipment, but it’s also a community piece of equipment as well. I know I’ll be beaming just as much when I drive by after school hours and see someone utilizing that equipment.”