This morning we joined together at City Neighbors with the Malone family, leaders from JP Morgan Chase, and the Firefighters crew along with our entire school to receive the gift of land to create a Malone Children Memorial Playground. This is a time of generosity, a time of connections, a time of healing. We are grateful for all who came today to share these feelings on the first day of Spring.
The following are the remarks from the gathering of our wonderful school leader, Kate Seidl, Principal of City Neighbors.
Good morning City Neighbors, invited Guests and friends, Katie and Bill Malone, thank you for joining together this morning, the first day of Spring 2017. Today is the day when there is just as much light in the day as darkness in the night. It is the vernal equinox. It is a day that gets to be one of the hinges of the year. From now on out, the light will increase and lengthen the day. It will be warmer and soon we will want to spend more and more time out of doors, with classmates and families, bathing in sunlight and fresh air.
How fitting it is then, that today we come together to make an announcement that similarly brings more lightness to our community and pulls us to the out-of-doors, to smell flowers, gaze at trees in bloom and hear children’s laughter. Today we are so delighted to be the recipients of a gift from forward thinking people. The gift, from JP Morgan Chase Bank, is for the land, just across the street, that is the site of the soon-to-be-created Malone Children Memorial Playground at City Neighbors.
These fine folks have helped put in place an exciting plan that will demolish the vacant and derelict house at 4310 Raspe Ave and open up myriad possibilities for children and families at City Neighbors and in the entire Cedmont Neighborhood. We are here to say thank you, to show our gratitude for a lasting kindness, the mere idea of which warms us like sunlight.
Since we first heard about the idea of turning this property into a pocket park and playground, many of us at school started imagining what kind of ways we would use it. “Swings!” said many children right away; “Tag; Hide and Seek in the trees,” said others. But also, said a fair few, “a bench for sitting and remembering”- remembering Amelia and Bridgette Malone and their brothers and sisters who died in the fire, whom we miss and think of and love. There may well be singing on the playground and acting and reading and talking with friends, because those are things we did with Bridgette and Amelia and still do now without them, thinking of them. Without a doubt that playground across the street will be filled with the things that children do best- play and laughter, investigations and inventions and marvelling at the world. Because this playground will be filled with the spirit of children.
Yes, we are eager for what is to come this spring, summer and fall in the Malone Children Memorial Playground. And we take comfort in imagining all there will be to do there. And we are so very grateful to have grown-ups in the world to partner with City Neighbors and think of children and put children’s needs first. Thank you. – Kate Seidl