If you’ve been to the Parkview Family Park recently, you might have noticed our exciting new addition, a Samaritan-inspired playhouse! This happy helicopter is the result of months of hard work from creative team members representing Parkview, Design Collaborative, and Weigand Construction, created specifically for the Play It Forward fundraising event benefiting the Early Childhood Alliance (ECA).
Parkview has a great deal of respect for the ECA and its mission to “build better futures for young children by promoting and providing quality early childhood education and services for families, early childhood professionals and the community.” The ECA serves 10 counties in northern Indiana, investing in our kids and our future by giving professional childcare providers opportunities for professional development and training. Additionally, they offer classes to help parents enhance their parenting skills, and provide a childcare resource and referral service that helps parents navigate reviews, accreditations and more to choose the absolute best childcare center to meet the needs of their kids.
Parkview Health believes in the importance of the ECA’s work, and has served as a partner in a variety of ways for many years. “We know that the future of our workforce is in the hands of our children,” Dena Jaquay, Chief Human Resources Officer, said. “Not only does the Early Childhood Alliance play an important role in building a pipeline of talented workers, but it also provides our coworkers with valuable guidance in choosing a quality childcare program.” So, when the ECA kicked off their recent fundraising campaign, Play It Forward, Parkview was thrilled to sponsor a playhouse, which was designed, built, and auctioned off in support of their mission.
From the beginning, Parkview planned to bid on the playhouse and bring it home to the Family Park. This, of course, influenced the tone of the design. “It’s not every day that you get to design a playhouse,” Rachel Vedder of Design Collaborative, said. “We appreciate fun projects and we were thrilled that it was going to raise money for ECA.” The group worked through several proposals, including a tiny hospital, but a replica of the Parkview Samaritan helicopter quickly became a team favorite. After all, what’s more fun that imagining you’re a helicopter pilot? The group had a vision. They would keep the playhouse as similar to the actual Samaritan as possible. The concept propelled the project forward and the result was a charming aircraft fit for the most active and imaginative little one.
The “Flight of Fancy” playhouse is equipped with seats in the front, monkey bars in the back, and a ramp for wheelchair access. The main body of the helicopter is open, sporting a 5-foot radius that provides more than enough room for a child to easily navigate a wheelchair.
Three different organizations sponsored playhouses, and overall the Play It Forward fundraiser raised $119,000 to support quality education and care for our children. “We always enjoy working with Design Collaborative,” Jade Painter of Weigand Construction said. “It’s really great that we could all come together for a good cause.”
This labor of love was made possible by several parties. We would like to thank the talented members of the community who came together to make this playhouse a reality. Design Collaborative, who worked through the initial design. Weigand Construction, who executed the materials, means and methods needed to bring this idea to life. Key Millwork, who supplied and cut the exterior grade plywood. And BZW Master Painters, who painted the Samaritan replica with paint supplied by Sherwin-Williams.