March 31, 2008

A community changed by Cesar Chavez Build Day

Karen Lowell
Linscott Charter School Parent and PR Committee Chairperson

I started to write about the structures we built and the details of the day. But the soul of the day wasn't in the building details; it was in the people. The scurrying masses flew to work as a jovial mob, moving tools, setting out the playground components, arranging food and water, and otherwise setting up the material proof that we were really going to build a playground by 2:30 p.m.

All day long people I knew and people I didn't know were slapping high fives and hugging me in giddy delight. Mothers embarrassed children as they salsa-danced their way from work site to work site. People stopped me to tell me they had goose bumps. There was JOY in the air, and proud amazement that we were really going to pull it off.

The best moment was at the very end when all but the KaBOOM! team and a handful of us from Linscott were left. A woman from the neighborhood walked by and asked, "What happened here today!?" She said a young man had walked past her house as he left the build site, and simply stepped into her yard to help her garden. "That NEVER happens in this neighborhood."

Well, after our magical day it just may. We mixed concrete to hold up our playground; we mixed friendship, joy and pride to cement the bonds that hold us together as a community. Long after the children who play on this playground are grown, we will all remember the spirit of joy with which it was built. I feel immensely privileged to have been part of it all.

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