Barancik Foundation, ELC Help Preschools Rebuild Playgrounds

Todays News

Photo courtesy Barancik Foundation

Hurricane Ian ended playground time at 19 Sarasota County preschools.

Mostly because of destroyed fencing, playground equipment remains unusable for the moment. Damage hit the area thanks to winds and rain connected to the Category 4 hurricane, which made landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast on Sept. 28. But a partnership between the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation and the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County should restore facilities soon. The Barancik Foundation will provide $50,000 to keep the outdoor play opportunities available to the region’s youngest citizens.

“Schools and teachers of all varieties have been through so much disruption in the last few years that Barancik Foundation has made returning classrooms – and playgrounds – to normal a priority in the wake of the storm,” said Teri A Hansen, Barancik Foundation president and CEO.

The construction community also made valuable contributions to the effort. Willis A. Smith Construction, one of the leading builders for education facilities in the area, connected the foundation and coalition with Starline Multiservices, a Pasco County-based cleaning and restoration specialist.

Janet Kahn, CEO of the Early Learning Coalition, said the contributions by Starline proved invaluable.

“We would like to commend Carlos Yeguez of Starline Multiservices for his compassion and cooperation in putting the needs of our littlest learners center stage,” Kahn said. “Despite his company’s full plate, he has dedicated a team to this widespread preschool effort. We are grateful for his initiative, focus and speed in getting our little ones back on the playground.”

The foundation stressed in an announcement the value of outdoor play in child development, helping children improve gross motor skills and activating senses while also providing an environment where young people must learn to behave and respect one another.

Foundation officials said they play to continue to watch the restoration of playgrounds and preschools, and are committed to helping the region with long-time recovery. 

Photo courtesy Barancik Foundation

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