"Our Kids. Their Park."
That was the message a couple of Saturdays ago, when almost 300 Flatbush residents came out for a party at their local playground.
CAMBA' Flatbush Promise Neighborhood Initiative (FPNI) organized the day---full of music, facepainting, Zumba, dancing and healthy refreshments---to remind the community what a playground is meant to be: a place for kids to have safe, healthy fun.
"The children loved it," said Marjorie Momplaisir-Ellis, CAMBA's Senior Program Director of FPNI. "And parents were asking if we could do this every single weekend."
Sitting next to P.S. 269, home of CAMBA's Beacon Community Center 269, the Nostrand Playground looks like it should always be full of children running, playing, sliding and climbing. But this isn't the case; the playground has become a haven for adults struggling with alcohol and drug abuse.
"Parents have been reluctant to let their children go out in the playground because they feel it isn't safe," said Momplaisir-Ellis.
The party was funded by a Community Transformation Grant from the Fund for Public Health in New York. Through the grant, CAMBA and community groups are working to turn the playground back into a vibrant community resource where children from the school and the surrounding neighborhood can come to engage in healthy physical activity.
"This party was to educate people," said Momplaisir-Ellis. "The message got out there."