"Shelters that provide playgrounds are a healthier environment and have better mental health long term," says Dan Ault, Operations Manager of the Interfaith Sanctuary.
For Ault, it's also personal: it was emotional for him to face the reality these kids are living every day. Being a Dad, he wants the homeless kids to have what every kid has. "It's important to me the children have a good home when they're here. Regardless of whatever their daily stressors are, when they get to the shelter, they have the ability to be a child. That they have the ability to play."
The new play area as envisioned would take over much of this parking lot. It would also have a lot of games to play including tetherball, pickleball, foursquare, and hopscotch. Parents would have a shaded area to sit in to supervise the kids.
Students at Bishop Kelly High School raised ten thousand dollars to get the project going.
With a donation of $100 to the shelter, your name could be part of the kids daily lives, engraved on a brick in the playground, "and donors would become part of the pathway that runs through the play area," says Jodi Peterson, Director of Development and Programs at Interfaith Sanctuary Homeless Shelter.
Of the homeless children, Jodi Peterson says, "They haven't done anything wrong. They just end up here because of life circumstance. And it's our job to make sure they have good memories."