Slater Elementary fulfills six-year dream of a KaBOOM! playground

More than 250 volunteers came together with teachers, staff and students on Wednesday to help Slater Elementary School fulfill a six-year dream by installing a playground, thanks to an ongoing partnership with KaBOOM! and Surgical Care Affiliates (SCA). But the renovations didn’t stop there. Volunteers also added  an outdoor classroom, picnic tables, a sandbox, an above-ground terrarium and a ground mural of the world.

“I’m so glad we got this playground,” said fourth-grader Sherrod Moore. “Before this all we could do is go play football down on the [open] field and run up and down the streets. And I didn’t want to do that. Now we have swings, and stuff like that, and there’s enough room for each of the grade levels to use each time.”

Slater Principal Dr. Salina Dukes-Walton noted that the school had been trying to secure a playground for six years, and when physical-education teacher John Beliard approached her three years ago with his own project for, “I didn’t lose hope, I just thought, ‘here’s another staff member applying for a grant, so why not?’ ” Beliard fought back tears as he thanked everyone who made the project happen — including frequent APS partner KaBOOM!, which previously supervised playground builds this year at Peyton Forest and Fickett elementary schools.

Beliard helped fulfill a key element to the grant — raising $7,500 from the Slater community — by reaching out to faculty and staff members, each of whom gave as much as $150 to reach the goal. “From day one, I told the students about the importance of this playground,” Beliard said. “The kids have been asking about this all the time: ‘Coach, why don’t we have a playground?'”

Atlanta Board of Education member Brenda Muhammad (District 1), officials from KaBOOM! and SCA joined Dukes-Walton and Beliard in an afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremony. SCA made the playground build part of its annual conference, which was held at a nearby hotel. “When I got ready to pull in with my car today, I saw the sun was just shining!” Muhammad said. “SCA, thank you so much for what you have done for Slater Elementary. We couldn’t have done what we’ve done without the collaboration of partners like you.”

SCA Senior Vice President Rob Jardeleza said the group was inspired to help out, quoting an African proverb: “When you pray, move your feet.” That, he says, was a variation of walking the walk. “We talk about what it takes to partner with SCA: a big brain, a strong back, and a big heart,” Jardeleza said. “While you’re working on this through the day, you’re kind of keeping your head down, and you’re just getting it done. But then to pull your head up at the end of the afternoon, you look around and see it happen. I can’t express the level of fulfillment from this. We’ve gotten out more than we’ve put in, I can tell you that.”

Surgical Care Affiliates, with its affiliated physicians and partners, is committed to delivering high quality surgical services to ensure a superior patient experience and clinical outcome. One of the largest providers of specialty surgical services, SCA operates more than 130 ambulatory surgery centers and surgical hospitals across the country with more than 2,000 physician partners.

15 thoughts on “Slater Elementary fulfills six-year dream of a KaBOOM! playground

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  1. I truely like the playground and the sand box that i saw in the back of the school.

  2. Wednesday April 21, 2010 marked the day of changing the world, one place at a time. For so long Slater Elementary struggled,hoped, and dreamed of a playground to entertain the children. It just goes to show that dreams can come true. It was a big wake up sign for the children. Giving them inspiration, to dream big and go as far as they want to in life. For me, it was an amazing once in a lifetime , life changing experience. Seeing the teachers as well as the parents support made my heart jump for joy. The smiles on the children’s faces were priceless. Coach Beliard, has left a foot print in the sand of time,to show others that if you put your mind toward anything you desire, it’s possible to get it done. It was touching to see all the people come out and help build. Thank God for SCA, and KABOOM, we could not have done it without you. We will be forever thankful for your help. I would also like to thank you to Mr.Copeland and Mr.Ausmore, Thank you for your time and for reading my comment.

    Georney Ross Beliard

  3. Being a part of this project was one of the most rewarding things I have done. I am very proud to be a SCA teammate. The Slater kids, staff and parents were excited to have us there. This is a very loving, caring group of educators. Congratulations to the coach, principals, teachers, parents and the entire student body! I can’t wait to see photos of the kids playing on this beautiful playground.

  4. What an awesome day! I am privledged to be a Teammate at SCA and so thankful that we have the opportunities we have had to give back. Working together and building that playground was a tremendous experience and one I will always cherish. I was able to show my own children the photos and talk about the experience with them ensuring they too may some day find a way to give back or be fortunate to be a teammate for an awesome company as I am that chooses to give back. I wish all of the Slater family many fun filled days on their new playground. It just proves that if you believe, it really can happen. Way to keep the Faith Coach!

  5. Congratulations Slater Family!!!!!

    Beth Bolden
    ESOL Teacher

  6. Bravo!!! I’m so glad to know that Slater’s students will enjoy a nice playground. You deserve the best Slater family! The dreams that you dare to dream…really come true!!! Missing you always!!!!
    Mrs. Chopite

  7. What a blessing for SCA to team with Slater to create a magnificent playground for our children. What a beautiful red homemade ribbon with the children’s handprints and the coordinated tee shirts for all! The Art and P.E. Department truly worked hand in hand. This is definitely site based management at its best, teachers, principals, volunteers, partners, businesses, staff, all working together for the good of the children. It brings to mind an old slogan of APS, back in the day. “If it’s good for the children, then let it be!” Congrats Slater! You’re the Best!

  8. The Slater family were such gracious hosts to our SCA team as we spent the day with them. The kids were so excited to see us and welcomed us with such enthusiasm that I knew it was going to be a great day! The transformation was incredible and very rewarding for our team. I will smile every day thinking about the joy, learning and growing going on at Slater and how our team helped their team realize a dream. Thank you Slater for the opportunity!

  9. This was such an exciting day for my family. My wife is a teacher at Slater and we have two sons that attend. I attended Slater as a child and remember having recess on the playground. Now, the kids won’t have to run around on the field for recess. This play structure is so much more than I expected. I know that the children will make good use of it.

  10. We had a great time building this playground – the joy we felt as we watched the children surveying the new jungle gym was over whelming.

  11. The students and teachers at Slater are so happy about the new playground. My favorite part is the outside classroom that I plan on using. It’s great for our students to have the opportunity to experience learning in various settings. Thank you Coach Beliard!

  12. Yeah! So happy for the students at Slater to finally have an awesome playground on campus. It’s been a long time coming and those great Slater students sure deserve it. Have fun!!

    Terri Dunson
    Hearing Impaired Teacher
    E. Rivers Elementary

  13. I was so happy to see Slater got a play ground it is good to see they have a place to burn off all that extra energy. Koodos to Mr Beliard and the Slater Family.

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