Our third playground is in a neighborhood called Milirativny. A bit farther out towards the edge of town, it’s the neighborhood where we lived during our first month in Sofievka. We chose a nice spot in a grassy area near some chestnut trees in front of the apartment buildings.
The timeline for this playground paralleled the one in Molodyozhny. We painted the fence here in early May theday after we finished the fence at Molodyozhny, and we waited the same two weeks for the carpenters to build the rest before we could paint it in another marathon volunteer day. The residents really came through for us and helped, though, and the results are something to be proud of.
As we held the final opening ceremony here and watched kids running around, we felt a great deal of pride at what we managed to do for our beloved hometown in Ukraine. Thank you again to everyone who supported us and made this possible. The people of Sofievka won’t soon forget your generosity!
The second of our little parks is located in a neighborhood called Molodyozhny, surrounded by several apartments and a preschool. This part of town is just behind the secondary school, so a lot of teachers and young families live in the apartments.
The carpenters didn’t get started on this playground until the end of April – well late enough to make us nervous about our timeline. First, they cleared a couple trees for space, and put up the fence, bench, and trash can. We organized a community work day right away to paint what was finished. We had a lot of help from residents that day, and it was fun to see neighbors coming together and volunteering – something that doesn’t happen very often here.
Once we painted the fence and bench, we had to push for nearly two weeks before the carpenters finally finished the playground on the very day of our grant deadline (which we had already extended). We were frustrated by the delays, needless to say, but we organized a work day for the next day to get it painted. This time, with such short notice, only a few very dedicated neighbors were able to help. Nevertheless, after five or six hours of sloshing on red, yellow, and blue paint, we managed to mostly finish. We returned a couple evenings later with a ladder to get the high parts and some other details, and then prepared for an opening ceremony a couple days after that.
When the time finally came to hang balloons, take photos, make speeches, and cut the red ribbon, we enjoyed the moment. Kids ran around and had a blast, parents sat on the bench and chatted, and we gave off a big sigh of relief!