Boys & Girls Club of the Piedmont celebrates opening of new playground
BY KARISSA MILLER
A variety of emotions rippled through the crowd gathered outside the Boys & Girls Club of the Piedmont playground area on Tuesday as children took part in a special ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Singing in the warm tone that only a child’s voice can make — the children stood side-by-side and sang “Lean on Me” in appreciation of their new playground equipment.
The Club was named a recipient of a 2023 Lowe’s Hometown Grant. The generous gift was used to purchase and install a new playground at the nonprofit’s Statesville main campus.
The new blue and yellow playground, which has mulch underneath it, has a separate swing area, three slides, climbing areas, monkey bars and many other features.
Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Clarissa Young thanked Lowe’s officials during the ceremony and explained that the children have not had access to this area and playground equipment for approximately four years.
“Our children are very excited about these improvements and cannot wait to try it out,” she said. “We are so grateful to you all.”
Board Chairman Ray Englebert expressed his appreciation, asking the crowd to give the Lowe’s employees and volunteers a round of applause.
He also spoke directly to the children.
“You guys are going to make memories. You are going to strengthen friendships out here,” Englebert said.
Statesville Lowe’s store manager Apryl McCoun said she was excited to help give the Boys & Girls Club an area to play again.
“It was a wonderful experience and we all had a good time doing this,” she said. “We are glad that we can support these students.”
The kids prepared a thank you sign that had their hand prints on it. Next, the children came up and helped with the ribbon cutting for their new playground. Afterwards, the children ran to their new playground and played.
“Whenever the playground was gone, I felt like I wasn’t really myself,” said club member Ziyvion. “Every time I’m on the playground — it makes me feel very amazing.”
The fourth-grader said he struggled to make friends in kindergarten, but explained that the playground is a place where you can easily make new friends and challenge yourself, too.
“My favorite part is probably the monkey bars,” he said. “I used to not be tall enough to reach them, but now I can finally reach them.”
Third-grader Alanna was among the excited club members.
“I’m so happy that it is really new and all colorful. I’m so happy that the kids love to play with it.”
Red Vest Day
Board member Boen Nutting helped connect the club to Lowe’s and and begin the application process for the Hometown program.
The Boys & Girls Club was one of 100 nonprofits selected for the 2023 Lowe’s Hometown grant program.
The local Lowe’s store reached out after the grant was awarded to inquire about sponsoring a Red Vest Day at the Club. That event was held September 30.
Club officials asked the Lowe’s associates to help reclaim the basketball courts, which had been covered with an inch of red mud due to a drainage issue that flooded the courts during hard rains.
Approximately 35 volunteers showed up for Red Vest Day. The team fixed the drainage issue, sowed grass and planted five trees. They also brought five power washers and cleaned all the basketball courts.
The Club would like to thank Jason Drum of Drum Landscape Supply who donated top soil for the project, as well as Apryl Mccoun, Larraye Fowler and Cameron Holmes, who led the Lowe’s team for the Red Vest Day.