Tonight I visited Roxhill Elementary, during the school open house. I brought a handful of flyers and a poster of the new castle park. I talked to a number of parents and even more kids about the park, about what we were doing, and how folks could help. I think I joined the PTA*.
More than a few adults described their reaction to the demolishing of the old park: “I was so mad when they took our park away.” Mad, they, took, away. These words describe a personal loss, a feeling of resignation if not exactly surprise. “Yes, the old one is gone, but we’re building a new one.” It was good to say that.
Every single child, without fail, had the same reaction. Every single child knew that park. Half of them had grown up in it. Most of them played in it on a regular basis. “Is that the new castle park? Cool!!” Have you ever seen a child get genuinely enthusiastic over a picture of a park? I haven’t, not until this evening. It’s something else.
But more than anything, it was the backpacks. Every kid should have a backpack to take to school. A number of organizations (Target, the Seattle Police, and Stuff the Bus, to name a few) sent over supplies for kids that needed them, things like backpacks. I have never seen so many free backpacks get handed out. And I thought: if it were possible to build this park twice as hard, that’s what I’d do.
*Side note. It cost me ten dollars to join the PTA. The money collected will go to the teachers to buy classroom supplies, with a goal of $500 per classroom. I don’t have a child at Roxhill. They didn’t seem to mind. Please consider joining the Roxhill PTA. While you’re at it, try and get four friends to sign up too. There’s a lot worse you could do with ten bucks.