Oaklawn Playground

In April of 2012 Wichita, Kansas had a night of severe storms and tornadoes that tore through a town, causing devastation throughout the homes. Children could no longer play outside. What used to be a playground was now a vacant lot. NC137 saw how beneficial a playground would be for the children of this community bringing a sense of hope and connection after such a major life-shifting event. In June of 2012 NC137 chose this vacant lot as their project and involved many of the community to volunteer and donate to the project. This created a sense of excitement within the community! The empty lot that was chosen was often referred to by the kids in the neighborhood as the haunted house and lot. During the project, it was so cool to see the kids who live in the community coming to help and see what was happening in their neighborhood. The day after the project a car pulled up to one of the volunteers at the gas station and all of the sudden, there were three smiling faces at the window waving like crazy! They told the volunteer that they had played that morning and just wanted to say thank you! The playground in Oaklawn in Wichita Kansas has created a safe space for kids to run and play and be free to be kids. It is a place that will keep giving for many years to come-a haunted house now a beautiful, free open playground! The WorldLegacy Oaklawn project created a playground completely from scratch in less than 72 hours. Budget: $37,500.

Oaklawn WorldLegacy Leadership Project
New Playground Taking Shape In Vacant Oaklawn Lot
Saturday, June 30, 2012

A community is coming together to improve a neighborhood. Bringing everyone together is the goal of designing and building a playground in the span of just one weekend.

Volunteers have braved the Kansas heat to convert a vacant lot in Oaklawn into a park. It’s a project enjoying plenty of community support.

While there are still signs of damage from the April 14 tornado that caused widespread damage in Oaklawn, they’re being replaced by the signs of progress and improvement.

“It’s fabulous the way everybody’s working together,” said Andree Sisco, a member of the Oaklawn Improvement District’s board of directors. “It really is great.”

Board members have been wanting to do something positive with a vacant lot left behind when an abandoned house in the 4500 block of Hemlock was torn down.

“We took the slab out to look at having it turned into a park someday,” Sisco said. “And then this wonderful organization came in and gave us the opportunity and they’ve just been fabulous.”

That organization is the WorldLegacy, a North Carolina-based company that provides corporate training and personal coaching across the country. Another strong focus of the WorldLegacy is community service.

The group got the idea for the Oaklawn project from team members from Wichita, who wanted to help the communities affected by the April tornado.

“They talked about Oaklawn and how it really got a lot of the damage,” said Jason Kunz, a WorldLegacy member from Minneapolis, Minn. “We talked to Oaklawn, talked to the board, and we got this lot open and everything just fell into place after that.”

Kunz left Minneapolis, picked up a disassembled playground in Duluth, Minn., and drove it to Wichita in the back of a U-Haul truck. In addition to about 20 WorldLegacy members, plenty of Oaklawn neighbors have been helping the project take shape, including some of those looking forward to using the playground the most.

No matter their size or age, everybody found a way to help out.

Work on the playground started Friday morning and the plan is for everything to be done by the end of the weekend.

“We have a ribbon-cutting ceremony tomorrow night at 7 o’clock,” Kunz said. “So we have to have everything done by 7 o’clock tomorrow night.”

Plenty more volunteers will be needed to reach that goal. Work will begin at the site of the new park, 4539 Hemlock in Oaklawn, about 8 a.m. Sunday and will continue until the playground is complete.

Oaklawn Playground Kansas Press Release

Contact: Amy Price for Immediate Release
Oaklawn Improvement District Playground Project
Wichita Kansas

WorldLegacy, June 29 2012. The Oaklawn community, 4539 Hemlock, Wichita, Kansas, is receiving an extreme makeover of a vacant lot to turn it into a playground for children and families. Members of the NC137 Leadership Team from WorldLegacy in Chapel Hill, NC are partnering with the Oaklawn community to create a beautiful fun and safe environment for the children in and around the community. This project is a part of WorldLegacy’s three month leadership development program. This playground project will include a safe fenced in area with benches, picnic tables, playground equipment and much more!

What makes this project unique is that the WorldLegacy Leadership team must design the project start to finish, cannot use any of their own money, must involve the community to do 75% of the work and also have it complete in a maximum of three days.

The area chosen for this project has recently been devastated by tornados. The playground project is intended to restore hope peace, serenity, security, fun and safety back into the lives of these children. The project helps to keep these children in a safe and nurturing environment and provides the means for children to discover their imagination, creativity and freedom to be a child as they so deserve.

The NC137 Leadership team requests your help to make this project possible the weekend starting June 29, 2012 at 8:00 am central time extending through Sunday July 1, 2012. We will start each workday at 8:00 am Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Join us in celebrating the completion of the project with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sunday, July 1 at 7:00 pm.

This is your opportunity to give back to the community and make a difference! Volunteers, monetary, brick masons, landscapers, builders, electricians, helping hands are requested. Everyone is invited to come out and help make this vision become a reality. The playground project will send a powerful message to these children that they matter, are loved and are valued. Your donations will be tax deductible.

Leadership group pools talents to build a playground in Oaklawn

A teacher’s assistant from North Carolina, an industrial hygienist from St. Paul, Minn., a paralegal from London and a physical therapist and a mechanical engineer from Wichita will team up this weekend to build a playground for the children in Oaklawn who were affected by a tornado in April.
By Simina Mistreanu
A teacher’s assistant from North Carolina, an industrial hygienist from St. Paul, Minn., a paralegal from London and a physical therapist and a mechanical engineer from Wichita will team up this weekend to build a playground for the children in Oaklawn who were affected by a tornado in April.
They form the NC137 Leadership Team with WorldLegacy, an organization from North Carolina that provides leadership workshops. This is their attempt at making the world a better place.
Building the playground is the team’s final project for the workshop, which they all participated in the last three months. In order for their project to be successful, Amy Price, Tori Smith, Adam Price, Andrew Hadley and Jason Kunz need to involve donors and volunteers from the Oaklawn community.
“We actually got to choose any place in the country to go and make an impact,” said Amy Price, who works as a teacher’s assistant at a school for deaf students in Morganton, N.C. “Since tornadoes recently went through Wichita, and since we have two members on the team from the Wichita area, we felt that that would make the biggest impact, the biggest difference in the community.”
Adam Price, Amy’s son and a mechanical engineer for Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, and Smith, a physical therapist who works near Oaklawn, attended a board meeting of the Oaklawn Improvement District to see what the area’s needs were. The board had discussed building a playground in the neighborhood for the kids whose families were affected by the tornado. The team took the idea and ran with it.
First, they made a list of the materials they needed for the project: concrete, rubber mulch, a playground structure with a swing set, park benches, picnic tables, trash cans, a fence. Then, they divided the tasks.
“The things that we felt most strongly about we took on individually,” Adam Price said. “If we had any type of background with some of the things needed on the list, then those were the items that we selected.”
They calculated the cost of the project at approximately $30,000. And they set a few rules: the team had to design the project themselves, could not use any of their own money, had to involve the community to do 75 percent of the work and had to have it completed in a maximum of three days.
They started approaching businesses for donations and volunteers for help. On Monday, they still needed funds for buying mulch and a playground structure and the help of as many volunteers as possible.
The team is expecting to attract 50 to 100 volunteers over the weekend, Smith said.
“We still are knocking on the doors in the neighborhood and letting them know what we’re up to, that we’re going to be putting up a playground for their kids to come and play,” Adam Price said. “After work or during lunch we’ll take off for a few minutes and drive over.”
The construction work at the playground will start Friday at 8 a.m. and end Sunday at 7 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting event with food and music.
“It’s just going to be really great to bring the community together around the playground,” Smith said. “And when we’ll get it done, it’s going to be awesome.”

The Wichita Eagle