Vote now for new playground in Fruitvale

Fruitvale PAC is asking locals to vote for their school's LEAP project in a grant opportunity available through Aviva Community Fund.

Visit avivacommunityfund.org to vote for a new playground project at Fruitvale Elementary School. The granting opportunity closes Oct. 28 so Fruitvale PAC encourages all locals to cast their 18 votes now.

Every child should be able to learn and explore outdoors in a safe playground, no matter the time of year.

With that in mind, the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) in Fruitvale is urging all locals to get online now and vote for their “LEAP” project.

Learn, Explore, Active, Play (LEAP) is a campaign to replace existing playground structures and hopefully create a new play area at Fruitvale Elementary School (FES).

The group has applied for a grant through the Aviva Community Fund but in order to get to round two of the funding opportunity, they need a lot of votes cast for their project by October 28.

“Members of the Fruitvale Elementary School Parent Advisory Council began working towards a submission with SD20 (School District 20) approval,” says PAC helper Melissa Hart, noting the grant proposal was submitted and accepted with Aviva Community Fund. “Now, it is up to the community, friends and family.

“This project is important for our school, the Village of Fruitvale and the surrounding communities; a year round, accessible outdoor school yard for students, friends and families to Learn, Explore, Active, Play.”

Voting is simple. Each registered user on the Aviva Community Fund website can vote 18 times, and those votes can be cast all at once. First, visit avivacommunityfund.org and click on the “Register” tab. Once user information is applied, an email will be sent to confirm registration. From there, simply click the emailed link and enter “Fruitvale” under the project location.

PAC is encouraging everyone to go online and vote for their LEAP initiative. Notably the group is up against 455 other across-Canada applicants -all vying for funds up to $100,000 depending upon the size of the project.

“We need everyone and everyone you know, to register at www.avivacommunityfund.org and vote their 18 votes for LEAP-New School Yard Playground for FES,” Hart added.

Finalists are announced Nov. 7 and a month later, winners are announced.

For more information, visit the project’s Facebook page, “FES LEAP.”

The LEAP project will look at all aspects of the school ground and ask for input from the student body, parents, teaching staff and community, to enhance the daily school experience for children both during and after school hours.

Inclusiveness is another key factor for the new playground structure. Students with disabilities at the school or in the community will be able to access the locale so they too can participate in play with their peers.

PAC points out that the only year round accessible park is at the Fruitvale Elementary School, all other village parks are closed from fall until spring. Additionally, the existing FES play area shrunk by 3,000 square-feet this fall after the facility’s parking configuration was moved from the front of the building around back to a section of the student playground. At the time, two playground structures were deemed unsafe by a school district audit and removed.

“As a result, students of FES lost not only play structures,” writes PAC. “But also an area that was used for play. The primary playground at FES is now being used by 150 students, the foundation of the playground structure is not up to current safety standards.”

The primary playground structure will be the first of many new and exciting improvements to Fruitvale Elementary, the group adds.

“We are hoping to help our school become the hub that will make our community grow together and have a safe place for our children to play and our families and friends to gather.”

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