Supporters of the Alexandria Soft Playroom have been raising funds for over a year, with more than $20,000 raised to date, and are trying to reach a goal of $25,000. “We have raised enough for the walls and floor of the soft playroom; the additional money sought will provide for fun toys inside the room such as climbing toys and oversized soft blocks,” said Elizabeth Jones, Chairperson of the Supporters Group.
The Alexandria Soft Playroom will provide a safe indoor play space in Alexandria, where so many homes are too small for active indoor play. It will be open to everyone (you would not need to be an Alexandria resident), will charge only a minimal fee so that working families can afford to visit frequently, and will be geared for infants and children up to age 6.
“A group of parents approached us about this project and pledged their money and time to make it a reality,” said Judy Lo, a specialist with Alexandria’s Department of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities, “We saw and understood the need for it, so being able to work with this group to bring it to fruition is really satisfying; it’s a great public-private partnership.”
The city agreed to donate the space, maintenance, and make some structural changes, such as widening the door to accommodate children in wheelchairs. The city is also incorporating the space into its recreation program. The $20,000 already raised covers the costs of a special flooring and customized wall covers so young children can jump, climb, and play safely indoors. Additional money will provide customized, movable soft structures and room features, such as a “texture wall.”
“Our model is the soft playroom at Lee District RECenter in Fairfax County,” Jones said. “Hundreds of parents have been taking their children to Fairfax County for more than a decade, and we’re looking forward to having a special place for birthday parties, special events, and rainy day play here at home.”
Many community members are donating their time and talents to complete the soft playroom, including members and friends of the Del Ray Artisans who will design and paint a large mural in the room.
Supporters of the Soft Playroom are currently holding two fundraisers:
- A Virtual “Paint a Tile” event: For $20, our artists will paint your child’s name on a tile that will become part of a permanent art installation at Chinquapin. There is no event to attend. Tiles can be purchased online at www.express.ts.com/k?softplayroom
- Make dinners at Let’s Dish!, which is donating 10% of all sales through Dec. 31, 2008 to the Soft Playroom effort when participants mention Code F7-ASP.
Other events held earlier in the year include a spring “Paint a Tile” party during which 100 tiles were sold, a benefit performance of the Great Zucchini and a recent 50/50 raffle (the winner, Joanne Pyle, donated the proceeds back to the Soft Playroom).
For more information on the project’s timeline, fundraising activities, or to donate online visit www.supportthesoftplayroom.com. To join the listserve, email email@example.com. The Soft Playroom welcomes donations of all sizes; various levels will be recognized by name on a plaque at the entrance to the playroom.