This past month, community members from PLAY partner community Pikangikum First Nation came together to build a new playground for children and youth.
After months of hard work on the part of the Pikangikum Playground Committee and the Right To Play leadership group, over 70 volunteers braved both rain and hot sun to prepare the site and install equipment. These volunteers rallied around the leadership of the Committee, which applied for grants and took part in interviews that won them a National Award from the Let Them Be Kids Foundation, as well as a grant from the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and the Ministry of Child and Youth Services. With this generous support, the children of Pikangikum were able to vote on desired playground components and design an incredible structure that would encourage healthy lifestyles and increase self-confidence in children and youth.
Right To Play Community Mentor Margarita Quill also worked with her Right To Play youth leadership group to host fundraising events for the project and plan the launch ceremony including speeches, prayers, drumming and dancing. She encouraged young people to volunteer installing the playground, and many of them expressed how proud they were to be able to build this amazing playground for their brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces and cousins. When the playground was finished, everyone gathered in the Community Centre for the launch ceremony where the Right To Play program participants danced in their hand-made regalia for the first time. After thanking everyone for making this dream possible, Margarita invited the group of excited children to begin playing on the playground. The children were overjoyed and stayed to play late into the evening, some of them having never played on a swing or slide before.
The Pikangikum Playground project was made possible because everyone worked together to create better opportunities for children and youth. We hope that this playground will continue to benefit the over 1000 children and youth living in Pikangikum First Nation for many years to come.