LifeSpan Circle School

In November of 2008, WorldLegacy’s NC105 Leadership team chose the LifeSpan Circle School in Burlington North Carolina for their project. This school offers 5-star day-care and pre-school services to a mix of children who are developing typically and also to children with special needs. This WorldLegacy Leadership project provided the school with a transformed playground by moving a swing set and bean-bag-toss unit to safer locations, installing a handicapped-accessible swing seat, installing a climbing tree for physical and cognitive development, upgrading the sandboxes and re-mulching the play areas. In addition, a storage shed that obstructed teachers’ view of the children in the playground was replaced with an open gazebo where children can enjoy sheltered play with a set of new toys. The budget was $37,500.

WorldLegacy Building Lifespan Playground

More than 100 Volunteers help erect area for local school
By Michael D. Abernethy

Children at the LifeSpan Circle School in Burlington will be welcomed to a brand new playground Monday. Built in two days by more than 100 volunteers from all over North Carolina and the US. Among the new treasures are a gazebo, a handicapped-accessible swing set, brand new pre-school level playground and several new sand boxes. Volunteers also mulched, raked, and cleaned the schoolyard.

I can’t wait to see the kids’ eyes Monday.  Being a non-profit organization, we couldn’t have afforded this,” said Buzz Vanderwerff, LifeSpan’s development director for Guilford and Alamance Counties.  The Burlington preschool places typical and developmentally challenged children together or learning and an inclusive environment between 6 months and 6 years old. The volunteer project was coordinated by the WorldLegacy Leadership Program, headquartered in Morrisville, and is the Center’s 105th The program teams people of all ages and all walks of life to build their leadership skills and focus on a community project about once a month. community service project in North Carolina and the South.

“We came together to give back.  There’s nothing better than to give and there’s no one better to give to than kids.  This will have an impact in the community for a very long time,” said program member Talib Winston, 30.  “What (LifeSpan) could have done in three months, we’ve done in two days, all without spending our own money and all with donations from the community.”  The program’s 30 members organized support from 40 Elon University students in the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and 20 NC A&T students.  About 20 more volunteers from within the community also lent support over the weekend. Deborah Dorland, 50, is an artist by trade from her home in West Virginia.  She spent the weekend constructing a sandbox with tie-downs for a tarpaulin shell. Children there could play in the school’s sandboxes because they were unsafe, she said. “It seems like a very humble thing to make a sandbox, but this is a stretch for me.  I spend all day sculpting and painting.

This program has completely changed my life.  It’s put me in a place where I can be a better daughter and sister,” Dorland said.  Winston says the leadership program has made him a better father in the six months he’s been involved with the WorldLegacy.  “Without this, I don’t know if I would have kept my family together.  I can only say thank you to (John Foley, the man who told him about the program) and thank the Lord,” he said. The school and WorldLegacy members will hold a ribbon cutting celebration Monday from 4 to 6pm, complete with food and performances by the New River Uprising band, Lulu as “Mother Goose,” Clown Willie and Don the Magic Man.
Reprinted with permission Burlington Times-News.

Circle School Testimonial

I’m a member of the WorldLegacy’s NC105 Leadership Team. What a wild ride! Our leadership experience culminated in a project for the LifeSpan Circle School in Burlington. The Circle School is a school for developmentally disabled children that operates on an inclusive model, where children interact and learn alongside other children with disabilities of varying degrees. This integrative approach is beneficial for the childrens’ social life and cognition. The Circle School is a wonderful place with a loving, devoted staff. Our team gave to the school by revamping its playground and providing toys and additions both to its playground and to its indoor recreation room. Over the course of two and a half days, we built two sandboxes, replanted two swing sets, poured fresh mulch over the entire two-acre playground, and set up new plastic outdoor play stations. We also replaced a hazardous, decrepit shed (where the children used to gather outside) with a brand new, sparkling white, rectangular gazebo with rails!

This provided ample space and shelter for many children to around in the shade. 100% of the funds used to buy the toys, materials, and supplies for the project were fundraised or donated. 100% of the labor was volunteered. To honor the school and recognize its children, we held a public commemoration at the school, where we officially “turned the playground over” to the kids. The whole project was a wonderful, life-changing experience. My experience at the Lifespan Circle School is a testament that anyone can change the world.

It just takes a few people declaring that they will, and then living up to their word.

Taylor Hayes
We were indeed extreme givers for this extreme makeover project

LifeSpan Circle School

New playground and creative learning cottage will help children
with developmental disabilities
CONTACT: Olga Makarenko

BURLINGTON, NC Nov. 22, 2008 – Volunteers from the WorldLegacy Leadership Program will lead other volu nteers in a weekend work project Saturday and Sunday, November 22 and 23 at the LifeSpan Circle School Burlington. This school transforms the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities by providing education, employment, and enrichment programs to affected children and their families. Over the weekend the group plans to build a gazebo and upgrade the playground equipment and sandboxes. The WorldLegacy volunteers who are leading this project are participating in a leadership development program organized by the WorldLegacy in Morrisville. The project is intended to create an extraordinary transformation that leaves a tangible legacy to the community with less than six weeks of planning and no more than three days of actual physical work, and without using their own money.

Beginning at 8 am on Saturday, and continuing on Sunday, the WorldLegacy volunteers and Elon college students will upgrade current playground equipment including sandboxes and a swingset. A new handicapped-accessible play set and swing will be added to the playground, along with an additional sandbox and playground accessories that promote fun, creativity and learning. An existing storage shed will be replaced with a colorful gazebo-style “creative learning cottage” that will offer the students a sheltered area for creative play. The upgraded playground and creative learning cottage will offer the children new opportunities to interact with each other and the world around them.

On Monday, November 24 at 4:00 pm the LifeSpan Circle School Burlington and the WorldLegacy staff and volunteers will inaugurate the newly renovated playground with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration of the playground and the school’s students and staff. LifeSpan Circle School Burlington students and their families, staff, community members and local educators and dignitaries will be invited, along with the print and broadcast press. The LifeSpan Circle School, located on 919 Stokes Street in Burlington, N.C., is an early childhood development school. What makes LifeSpan Circle Schools’ approach truly extraordinary is that it integrates children with varying degrees of ability with typically developing children. The philosophy of this school is that all children, regardless of mental or physical ability, should have the opportunity to interact with each other, learn from each other and develop relationships with each other. The school gives these children the opportunity to grow knowing that they are all the same on the inside.