Sometimes, All It Takes Is You

In Novemberameena_hijazi_holmes_run_park_playground, 2011, Ameena Hijazi heard about the Project Play Spruce Up Grant Contest we launched with Childhood Obesity Action Network and Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria and nominated her neighborhood playground at Holmes Run Park

We launched the Project Play Spruce Up Grants as a way to help residents improve local playgrounds and ensure that every child in Alexandria has a quality place to play.

By crowdsourcing the nominations and asking the community to help pick the winners, we hoped to make it easy and fun for any Alexandria resident to be a playground advocate. 

Ameena was just one of 17 local residents, who we like to call ACTion Heroes, to nominate a playground in Alexandria. ACTion Heroes are everyday people like Ameena, who recognize an opportunity to do something good for their community, and take the leap--whether it means agreeing to heading up a PTA committee, volunteering with your church, tutoring a child after school, or nominating your neighborhood playground for a grant.

Ameena took 10 minutes to tell the story of why her local playground needed a Spruce Up Grant, spoke to her neighbors and emailed her civic association to muster up some support. Those 10 minutes turned into a celebration at the new and improved Holmes Run Park playground 10 months later.

Ameena, 25 children and their caregivers gathered to play on the new swings, music panels, and spinners installed in the playground over the summer. They blew bubbles, played parachute games, ate watermelon and just had a lot of fun exploring the results of Ameena's action. 

We didn't have enough grant money to give to all of the 17 ACTion Heroes like Ameena who took the time to nominate their playground for a Project Play Spruce Up Grant, but that doesn't take away from their efforts. 

And as they did in Ameena's case, small efforts sometimes pay off in really big ways! In this case, ways that made a neighborhood playground a better place for families with toddlers to play.

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