Venetian Hills Elementary gets a new playground — and a visit by Ludacris

UPDATE: See photo gallery here.

More than 200 volunteers worked on a warm Saturday afternoon to build a playground for Venetian Hills Elementary thanks to the support of KaBOOM! and United Healthcare — who rewarded those efforts with an appearance by Ludacris.

The award-winning hip-artist and actor with deep Atlanta roots was a star attraction on a day dedicated to the children, who participated in a “Fun & Fit Fest” complete with free health screenings, a moonwalk, slide and video gaming while volunteers worked away. The result was a new playground along with a new garden and more.

Community supporters really came through on this one, according to Venetian Hills Principal Clarietta M. Davis and Media Specialist Sheila Johnson (who oversaw the grant process). Under KaBOOM! guidelines, a school must raise $7,500 of the some $30,000 required to build the playground. A community committee featured Bill Selman of Preferred School Care. Georgia Power kicked in $1,000. But students played a major role, too. Jaymes Mincy, a student honored as Miss Venetian Hills, raised $600, while Devyon Clark, Mr. Venetian Hills, raised $300. He was later rewarded by Ludacris (who has his own youth-oriented foundation) during a ceremony with a $100 bill.

Georgia Rep. Ralph Long and Sen. Vincent Fort attended the ceremony, while U.S. Rep. John Lewis made a morning appearance. School officials also gave thanks to the local Super Food Giant store, which provided volunteers with all of the food and beverages for the day.

Ludacris’ appearance came courtesy of a collaboration between the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s “iParticipate” and United Healthcare’s “Do Good. Live Well.” campaigns.

Check out other stories on KaBOOM! playground builds during 2009-10 at Slater, Peyton Forest and Fickett elementary schools.

We’ll be rolling out more videos, photos and posts on this blog and on the District Web site. Stay tuned.

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