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Playground coming to Port Clements thanks to NWCC students initiative

HAIDA GWAII Northwest Community College (NWCC) student Colleen Beachy is riding a wave of positive momentum in her bid to bring a playground to the Haida Gwaii community of Port Clements. A student in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program, Beachy is taking initiative after she saw a need in her community for young children under the age of five. "When I was in my practicum, we had the children outside to play a lot, said Beachy. I really saw the importance of outside time for the kids." Despite being a busy student, Beachy began to ask around, research playgrounds and sought the support of the local school district and Port Clements Elementary School, where she is a noon-hour supervisor. She knew there was a big empty space on the property of the new multi-purpose building in Port Clements and thought since it was in a neighbourhood with families and young children, it would make for an ideal location. Before she knew it, she had learnt about a funding opportunity with Success by Six, she had a received letters of support and the idea was, as she put it, snowballing. Her application to the Success by Six grant was approved for $4,600. Beachy didnt stop there. She then applied to the school PAC (Parent Advisory Council) and received a further $2,000. The determined student has since applied for a third government grant for $12,000 and, if successful, she plans to ask the Gwaii Trust Societya fund established to advance economic diversification and sustainable development on Haida Gwaiito match her funds. Jessica Hrechka Fee, ECE program Coordinator and Professor, says shes been awed by Beachys determination to meet a need she identified for the betterment of her community. She saw a need in her community for young children and she put her learning into action, said Hrechka Fee. Being a student did not limit her, but encouraged her. It is inspiring to see our students put learning into action in their communities. Colleen is a passionate advocate for the early years and she is showing it!" The bigger picture, adds Hrechka Fee, is that the community of Port Clements can see the role of college students and Early Childhood Educators and, eventually, children will have age appropriate play space in the community.

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