At the break of dawn on Tuesday morning, September 24, 2013, nearly 200 volunteers from the Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil Products, Ingredion Incorporated, Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance and IPS #93 George H. Fisher Elementary gathered at the school with one mission: build a playground! In just five hours, that mission was accomplished and a dream was fulfilled for hundreds of local youth.
On Tuesday, determined volunteers installed a new playground with Sinclair Recreation and beautified the school grounds with landscaping and outdoor painting projects led by Rebuilding Together Indianapolis. IPS #93, the "learning playground" for more than 400 students, grades K-6, is located in an east side neighborhood.
This is the sixth consecutive year the Colts have worked with their partners to build a playground in Central Indiana on a Colts Community Tuesday. The playground build at IPS #93, with landscaping, beautification and refurbishment tasks included, is the largest project to date! In addition to providing a safe place for children to play, the build promotes active and healthy lifestyles amongst youth through the NFL PLAY 60 message– encouraging sixty minutes of physical activity each day.
To kick off the build day safely, Colts Cheerleaders led the group in warm-up stretches during the opening ceremony. Once the volunteers reported to their various assignments, they were joined by Colts DE Cory Redding, QB Chandler Harnish, TE Dominique Jones, DE Fili Moala and LS Matt Overton lending a helping hand (and muscle) on installing the actual playground structure. Halfway through the build, bonus reinforcement arrived on the scene. Colts WR LaVon Brazill, RB Miguel Maysonet, LB Josh McNary and CB Sheldon Price armed themselves with shovels and wheelbarrows to help volunteers demolish the massive mulch pile by moving the safety surfacing to the new playground.
While the volunteers worked tirelessly outside, Blue the Mascot spent time visiting students inside each classroom as they anxiously waited to see their new playground. The students engaged in the project by working with the Fall Creek Watershed Partnership and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts to paint rain barrels for the school's garden and for other community organizations. Students and volunteers were also invited to tour the Colts In Motion traveling museum throughout the day.
By 1:30 p.m., the new playground structure was fully set in place, complete with a sky runner and refurbished swing set. The school's basketball court was given a facelift with brand-new goals and resealed pavement. The sidewalk boarding the playground was refreshed with games, such as four-square and hopscotch. A new, outdoor classroom was constructed to offer teachers the opportunity to bring students outside for a day of active learning throughout the year. An existing outdoor garden was given new life with bench seating and planter boxes for young students learning science. The school's kickball field was rehabbed with a power-wash and new bases. A special sitting area for teachers was also added outside.
Joy filled the air as students walked out of the school for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Many students hugged volunteers as they took their first look at the new playground. The student choir offered a musical performance as a special 'thank you' to all of the volunteers and partners for their efforts. Colts OG Thomas Austin and cheerleaders joined the playground build partners on the safety surfacing of the new playground for the ceremonial ribbon cutting.
A very special thanks to Republic Services, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Penn Station and Coca-Cola for their continued in-kind donations that contributed to a successful build day!
About Colts Community Tuesdays
The Colts are proud to team up with WTHR Channel 13 for our 2013 "Community Tuesday" events. During the regular NFL season, Tuesday is the only day off players receive. As a result, the Colts utilize every Tuesday to engage their players in various charitable events and programs throughout Central Indiana. From schools and hospital visits to blood drives and holiday outreach, Colts players participate in a wide variety of "Community Tuesday" activities throughout the season. Follow the Colts throughout the community @coltscommunity on Twitter and Colts in the Community on Facebook. For more information on all of the Colts outreach efforts, visit www.colts.com/community.