Kewaunee Schools, Bellin Health to hold Playground Event

Kids can ‘unlock funds” for special needs community play space to be built next year

KEWAUNEE — Kewaunee School District families and local community groups and employers are invited to a special needs community playground funding kickoff event at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 4 at Kewaunee Grade School, 921 Third St.

The school district and Bellin Health have joined forces to build the all-inclusive play space, for which ground will be broken next summer. The project is designed not only to provide a safe and stimulating play environment for all students, but also to generate a broader sense of community wellness for children, families and other area residents, said Randy Van Straten, Bellin Health vice president for Business Health Solutions.

“We love this initiative because it links wellness activities with the release of dollars for this project,” Van Straten said, “thereby teaching healthy habits and generosity for the community at the same time.”

Bellin Health has donated $60,000 toward the playground, with the contingency that those dollars need to be earned through the children’s wellbeing efforts. The K-8 students will be able to begin “unlocking” the funds Oct. 1, earning individual and class rewards, plus bonuses, tied to physical activity, volunteerism and other positive contributions. The 25 students who unlock the most playground points from Oct. 1 through the end of the school year will attend next summer’s groundbreaking as part of the “shovel club,” which will include the gift of a photo and souvenir shovel for each member child.  

“We are so thankful to be working with Bellin Health on this initiative,” said Kewaunee School District Superintendent Karen Treml. “We at the Kewaunee School District believe strongly that all students need to be included, both in the classroom and outside of the classroom environment. Play is an important part of the work that children do each day, while also helping to keep them healthy. This initiative will allow all of our students to play side by side with one another.” 

The Kewaunee School District is part of Bellin’s THRIVE program, which is designed to improve health outcomes for children, families and staff in area school districts. Through THRIVE and as a part of the playground initiative, students will have the chance to win Green Bay Packers gear and other incentives.

Packers linebacker Jayrone Elliott and cornerback Makinton Dorleant will attend the kickoff event, sharing their stories of community and the importance of mentoring. Elliott will present a ceremonial shovel to Van Straten and Treml to officially kick off the playground drive.