Lifestyle

While some play on the playground, these teens helped build it

Alanna Nixon, left, and Paris Harrison raised the money to build a playground at Madrona Day Treatment School at Kitsap Mental Health in East Bremerton, due to be built Sunday. The 13-year-olds are pictured at the future site. - Kristin Okinaka/staff photo
Alanna Nixon, left, and Paris Harrison raised the money to build a playground at Madrona Day Treatment School at Kitsap Mental Health in East Bremerton, due to be built Sunday. The 13-year-olds are pictured at the future site.
— image credit: Kristin Okinaka/staff photo

The two teenagers couldn’t let this opportunity to help create a playground slide by.

Children at the Madrona Day Treatment School, a Kitsap Mental Health program for children with behavior issues and cannot attend regular schools, will be able to jump and play on the soon-to-be built “Kids Kove” therapeutic playground, made possible through the efforts of Alanna Nixon and Paris Harrison of Bremerton.

“Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t help in the community,” Paris said.

The 13-year-olds, who started on the project when they were 11, came up with a fundraising plan, developed a service group “Kids4Kids,” named the playground, wrote grants and drummed up support from community groups.

“They have just been ambassadors of the project,” said Rochelle Doan, spokeswoman for the agency.

Doan suggested a few smaller projects for the girls, who are home-schooled in Bremerton, but Paris and Alanna chose the playground project because they wanted to directly help kids in their community.

“They wanted this playground for a long time so we thought it would be awesome if we could help them out with that,” Alanna said.

Alanna and Paris began talking with Doan in spring of 2008 and started brainstorming ideas.

In just about a year, the teens raised $38,000 for the playground, from individuals and organizations like the Bremerton Rotary and the Kitsap chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness. This month they also received a grant from Silverdale Rotary’s “Duck Bucks” project.

Despite their success, it wasn’t always easy.

“When we first started, it seemed like nothing was happening,” Alanna said, adding that the project taught her about patience.

“In the very beginning, nobody knew who we were. We started from ground zero,” Paris said. “Once it got going, it was a domino effect and worked out.”

The ground of the playground site was leveled in August and on Sunday, Sept. 26, the playground will finally become a reality when about a dozen volunteers will help build the play structure with help from the manufacturer, SiteLines. Construction is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. with the day wrapping up with a celebration at 4 p.m. for Alanna, Paris, donors and construction volunteers. On Tuesday the soft landing cover will be placed. Soon after, the children will be able to use the playground.

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