Extreme Makeover: Playground Edition

Posted by on May 21, 2013

No one shouted, “Move that bus,” like they do on the hit ABC TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition; however, the emotion displayed proved there was no need to move a bus to elicit a dramatic response for the reveal of a total playground makeover.

“I was holding one of our youngest guests as we walked around the corner to the backyard,” explained Great River Family Promise Executive Director Jess Hartfiel. “Her eyes got so big and she started shaking her little fist as though she were a cheerleader.”

Community Service Day, Minnesota School of Business-Elk River

Staff and faculty work on attaching the swingset beam to the main fort structure.

As the other six children, who are also guests at the homeless day center, rounded the corner to find a newly constructed playground, they stopped suddenly about 10 feet away and just stared in amazement.

Then, with one confirmation that they could play on it, all seven ran over to the play set and started swinging, sliding, rock climbing—and just having fun.

The staff and faculty from Minnesota School of Business-Elk River stood back and watched as their hours of labor and planning all became worthwhile.

“The entire experience was so rewarding,” said Minnesota School of Business employee Doni Deters. “But the best part was watching the kids and parents enjoy the end product.”

Unlike ABC’s Extreme Makeover show, where families featured are the homeowners, these families are just guests at the Elk River, Minn.-based homeless day center. However, up until now, the center didn’t have any outside activities for the kids to do.

“For kids whose lives are impacted by not having a home and playground of their own, you all gave them a wonderful gift,” said Hartfiel in an email to Minnesota School of Business staff and faculty. “It is a gift that will keep on giving as many children will have the opportunity to enjoy the playground for many seasons to come.”

Minnesota School of Business-Elk River, Community Service Day

Staff member Tammy Erickson demonstrating correct teeth brushing

Purchasing and building the playground weren’t the only focuses of Minnesota School of Business’s Community Service Day last Friday.

A team of staff and faculty also created a container garden complete with vegetables and herbs for the homeless day center’s guests to pick and enjoy—and they raked leaves, which revealed beautiful flowers that were starting to sprout.

A third group of staff and faculty made the surprise project of building the playground at the homeless day center possible.  This group entertained, educated and pampered all of the homeless day center guests at the Minnesota School of Business-Elk River campus. 

They held workshops on fun things to do with kids on a small budget, nutritional foods that don’t cost a fortune, fashionable clothes for working adults and school-aged kids for less, among many others. 

Additionally, some staff members engaged in activities like creating tie pillows with the kids, while others pampered the adults with massages.

“One mom said how much she appreciated the massage as she has never had one before,” said Hartfiel.

The day’s events were all part of a designated National Community Service Day held simultaneously across the campuses of Globe University, Minnesota School of Business and Broadview University.

Minnesota School of Business-Elk River, Community Service Day

Staff and faculty with the finished playset

Minnesota School of Business-Elk River, Community Service Day

All of the Minnesota School of Business faculty and staff at Homeless Day Center


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