Volunteers from Black Student Union join community groups in creating a play space for children at Carver Library
by Rend Altai ’15
SAN ANTONIO – Volunteers from Trinity University helped construct a playground at the Carver Library in late September, a fun place that is expected to serve about 24,000 children from San Antonio’s historic East Side.
Trinity’s Black Male Leadership Initiative (BMLI), Black Student Union (BSU), and John Orange, assistant director of Institutional Research, provided 13 of the 200 volunteers who worked for seven hours to complete the project. Design and planning for the playground took place over several months, starting in July 2013, “under the direction of San Antonio city officials, Foresters Insurance, and KaBoom, a Washington, D.C. based non-profit organization,” according to Orange.
Orange heard about the project from members of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church and local news articles and presented the idea to BMLI members, who agreed that the project seemed like a good fit to increase their involvement in community activities.
“Councilwoman Ivy Taylor has been promoting and executing the revitalization of the East Side, and we as a group wanted to be part of that. We wanted to show that BSU not only has a presence on campus, but we also have a presence in the community,” said Christopher Williams, vice president of BSU. “It was amazing to see a diverse group of people who hardly knew each other come together and work for a common goal.”
Pictured with Councilwoman Ivy Taylor, in the middle of the front row, are members of the Trinity community while building a playground at the Carver Library. Front row, from left, are Tae Sakong, Tyesha Jackson, Chris Williams, Councilwoman Taylor, Caire DeGaillard, Thato Matome, and Aaron Harwell. Back row, from left, are Tambra Bonds, Alaynna Marttalla, Darcie Marquardt, Matt Brown, Lyric Smith, Brandon White and John Orange.
During a design day in July, children were asked to draw their dream playground, and their ideas were used to create the final design.
“The playground equipment is designed to accommodate children from ages 5 to 12. This facility would provide the only publicly available outdoor playground equipment within the service area of the Carver Library for children in this age range,” Orange said.
“Children have no control over what environment they are born in; however, we can cultivate recreational and educational experiences for the children,” Williams added. “It was a great feeling knowing that we made some little kid's dream on paper become a reality.”
Since completing the playground, Orange said he has visited the library several times and has observed the playground as a “cherished resource” already. “My guess is that the playground will have plenty of visitors during school breaks and summer vacation.”
Text provided by Rend Altai of Austin, a candidate for graduation from Trinity University in May 2015 with a degree in International Studies. She is a student worker in the Office of University Communications.