New playground delights children at
St. Augustine Manor Child Enrichment Center

by Chuck Hoven

(Plain Press, August 2004) Fifty children attending the Saint Augustine Manor Child Enrichment Center at 7801 Detroit Avenue are enjoying the benefits of a new playground this summer, thanks to the generosity and hard work of employees of PASCO, Inc., a Hudson-based company.

At a Tuesday July 20 th dedication ceremony, children from the Child Enrichment Center poured out into the playground moving quickly down the slides, through the tunnels, up the stairs and over the bridges of their now familiar play area. The playground also features small children’s vehicles, an alphabet board, a telescope, and water toys.

At the dedication ceremony, Patrick Gareau, President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Augustine Health Campus, thanked all those who helped build the playground. This past fall PASCO employees, along with staff of St. Augustine Health Campus and staff and parents from the Child Enrichment Center , devoted a weekend to building the playground. To make the project possible, PASCO employees raised between $30,000-40,000 to purchase the playground equipment.

Four staff people from Meyer Design, the company that made the playground equipment, assisted the volunteers in their efforts. Dana A. Carns, Director of Public Relations of St. Augustine Health Campus, praised the staff of Meyer Design for leading the volunteers in the building of the playground. She noted volunteers learned to use jackhammers and post diggers and assembled the playground.

Gareau noted that when Carns learned that PASCO, Inc. built a playground each year, Carns convinced PASCO that the children of St. Augustine Manor Child Enrichment Center should be the next recipients of a new playground.

St. Augustine Health Campus Chaplain Fr. Leonard Chuwa blessed the playground as part of the dedication ceremony. Sr. Miriam Lekan noted that Fr. Leonard used a special blessing for athletic fields. In the spirit of the upcoming summer Olympics, Sr. Miriam offered a prayer of her own, asking that the playground equipment help prepare the children to participate in future Olympic trials.

The playground is at W. 80 th and Elsa Court , on the west side of the St. Augustine Manor building (the former St. John’s Hospital ). Children can enter the gated facility from inside the building. The St. Augustine Manor Child Enrichment Center serves children from ages 6 weeks to five years, according to Child Enrichment Director Stephanie Moore. She added that the facility is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Friday and serves both neighborhood children and children of the staff of St. Augustine Manor. She said the center has 10 staff people working with the children. The Center accepts county vouchers.

“The St. Augustine Manor Child Enrichment Center, in partnership with the Catholic Charities Head Start Program, provides daycare services. The fully equipped early childhood center, pre-school head start curriculum and daily intergenerational activities help to build a strong foundation for the children,” said Public Relations Director Carns.

 

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