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Playground fundraiser a success for homeless children and others who experience trauma

Playground fundraiser a success for homeless children and others who experience trauma

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Homeless children and others who enroll at an early learning center in Madison are getting a new playground, thanks to generous donations from the community.

Congratulations to Attic Angels, which raised nearly $75,000 for the project this year, as part of its 130th anniversary celebration in Madison.

The new playground at The Playing Field on the Near West Side will cater to young children with high levels of anxiety, frustration or fear. The center enrolls many children who have experienced trauma and adversity. Their families may lack stable housing, or the children may come from foster care.

“We pick up kids from hotels,” Abbi Kruse, the center’s executive director, said Monday. “We have picked up kids who slept in their family’s vehicle.”

The center also enrolls about a third of its 50 students from families who can afford to pay full tuition. They’re attracted to The Playing Field’s high quality of child care, diverse student body and emphasis on developing empathy and handling emotions.

The Wisconsin State Journal has been a proud sponsor of the playground fundraiser this year. We applaud the Playing Field’s efforts to improve early childhood education so more kids are prepared to enter school. We also wish Playing Field well in its efforts to open a second site on the East Side for an additional 100 children.

The new playground at The Playing Field on the Near West Side, at Bethany United Methodist Church, should be under construction by summer. It will feature sensory stations to help children self-regulate their emotions if they become agitated. For example, children will be able take deep breaths and blow pinwheels or create bubbles. They will be able to feel different textures, such as tin and stones, to help organize their brains. They can relax inside an enclosed swing, find their way through a fun maze, and meet with a teacher to help them reset and return to class.

On this week's political podcast, Milfred and Hands sing satirical holiday songs, with lyrics by Rick Ho-Ho-Horowitz of Milwaukee. Santa Claus visits the podcast in his pajamas and seems unprepared for Christmas Eve. Newspaper courier Koffi Amuzu-Gassou joins our State Journal choir, telling about Christmas in Togo, Africa, where children run behind Santa's pickup.

Attic Angels launched the playground fundraiser for The Playing Field on top of its other community service activities. Best known for building and managing a living facility for older adults, Attic Angels holds three big sales of donated items each year to raise more than $100,000. Most of the proceeds this past year went to community grants that provided mental health services to young people, and some of the money helped older adults keep and afford their housing.

This past year has been a successful one for The Playing Field and Attic Angels. Their enthusiasm for helping others deserves strong public support and replication across our region and state.


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