On Mother’s day 2010, volunteers from Castledowns and the Filipino Community tore down the old Castledowns District Playground equipment located at 153  Avenue and 117 Street. This paved the way for the brand new state-of-the-art playground on the same site.  The old playground, in good condition, was salvaged and earmarked for donation to the Philippines.  The Edmonton Friends GK Village in Gerona, Tarlac will be the new location of the salvaged playground equipment.  Nineteen volunteers will be heading to the Philippines on January 28th, 2011 to re-build the playground and to distribute the sports equipment and uniforms, books and school supplies that were donated by schools, individuals, and companies. On October 2nd, the volunteers met to refurbish, crate and palletize all of the items were shipped to the Philippines.




Updated: Sat Dec. 11 2010 19:02:09

Jessica Earle, ctv edmonton.ca

On Saturday, a host of volunteers took one more step towards a goal several months in the making, loading a truck with playground equipment and a bunch of donations destined for a poor community in the Philippines.

The group of 19, many associated with the Castledowns Recreation Society, is set to fly to the tropical country at the end of January. Once there, they will spend a week setting up a refurbished playground that had its first life in Edmonton.

"Instead of it going to a dump we wanted to donate it to children who've probably never seen a playground before," said Keoma McMurren, president of the Dunluce Community League, of the project.

"It's very humbling and I'm very honoured to go."

McMurren and her group's destination is a small village about two hours north of Manilla. The community of 42 families is just a couple years old, with many people moving into their 200-square foot homes after spending most of their lives living on country roadsides.

This weekend the volunteers shipped about $800,00.00 worth of playground supplies including seesaws, slides and swings to Vancouver. Thousands of dollars worth of sporting goods, school supplies and other items were also packed away, thanks to donations made by local families and companies.

The cargo will start making its way overseas December 23rd.

"It's starting to get really exciting because we're starting to realize it's going to come to fruition," said Loretta Wonitoy, who works with the Castledowns Recreation Society.

She says the group has done its homework and feels prepared for the task ahead.

"We're bringing 75 bags of cement with us because the cement in the Philippines isn't quite up to the calibre to make sure everything stays together."

Edmonton-Castledowns MLA Thomas Lukaszuk will be among the volunteers heading out on the project in a month-and-a-half.

He says the group chose the Philippines as its destination in large part because of the number of foreign workers in Alberta who come from the region.

"Often when they leave to come over here, they leave their families behind, they leave their children behind," he said.

  "So we thought it would be suitable to say thank you and pay them back.