Passion For Playgrounds

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By: Jan Engoren Contributing Writer

After their success last summer in donating and building a playground for children at the Lord’s Place in Lake Worth, GL Homes looked around to see where else they could make an impact.

They found a need at the Place of Hope’s Boca Raton campus, where as part of their Passion for Playgrounds program, this year they are donating and constructing a playground valued at $40,000 for the residents.

“For us, it’s a labor of love,” says GL spokeswoman Sarah Alsofrom. “The reception was so positive from the kids at the Lord’s Place, that we looked around to see where else we could make a difference.”

Charles Bender III, Founding CEO of the Place of Hope, a faith-based, state-licensed children’s organization providing foster care services, says, “GL Homes believes in making an investment in the young people in our community.”

Most Place of Hope residents are between the ages of 4 and 18 and when they turn 18, they age out of the state foster care system and are eligible for their transitional housing.

“They support of our transitional model  of housing,” he says. “When the suggestion was presented to them they said, ‘absolutely, we will help.’”

Having the play facility has made a difference in the lives of the 37 families and more than 60 children they serve, says Diana Stanley, CEO at the Lord’s Place.

“The playground has become a focal point for our youth programs,” says Stanley. “Before the playground, our kids played in a parking lot.”

“Despite family trauma, and being homeless, when these kids go on the playground they are children,” she says. “The playground has become part of our way of life.”

She credits GL Homes. “They are wonderful business partners – thorough and committed.  You can trust the project will be done right and with the spirit of giving attached to it.”

Features of the commercial-quality, fully-shaded, colorful playground include: a Tic-Tac-Toe panel, a double slide, a right-turn slide, bongos, a tube bridge, monkey bars and a jungle gym.

Bender expects construction to begin by the end of May and the recreational equipment to be in use this summer.

“GL Homes has put their money where their mouth is,” Bender says. “Our kids are excited.”