CCSD59, Elk Grove High School Communities Collaborate for New Playground at Oasis Mobile Home Park
Ricky Castro has carried the desire to build a park and playground at the Oasis Mobile Home Park for years. Residents of the park, including hundreds of CCSD59 students, had the same wish.
Now, families and community members across CCSD59 have joined together to make that a reality.
“The motivation is to advocate for equity and child development,” Castro said. “Every child should have a community park to develop their physical and cognitive areas through play and recreational activities. We felt that it was a moral responsibility to support our community.”
Students living at Oasis have received a growing number of opportunities to get involved with their peers in recent years. Castro, a Spanish Heritage Teacher at Elk Grove High School, has been involved with Oasis for nearly a decade, and helped establish Estudiantes Unidos, a mentoring program with EGHS and Grove Junior High, along with summer camps that promote STEM, reading, and physical education. In 2019, nearly 200 elementary students from CCSD59 participated in these camps.
As those programs have expanded, so has the urge to provide even more space for children to play and grow.
Nicole Robinson, who served as the principal at Salt Creek Elementary at the time last year, heard those same rumblings from her own students who live at Oasis. Once she heard about the planning Castro had done, she, along with Grove Junior High Principal John Harrington and Rupley Elementary Principal Dianna O’Donnell, met with EGHS administrators.
“There is little green space and no play areas for children. We wanted to try to give them a safe place to play, so (Castro) made a plan with Oasis management to include a turf field for soccer and a playground next to it,” said Robinson.
Once it became clear that proceeding with the project was possible, a fundraising plan was put into place, and donations soon came in from across the district. Salt Creek PTO members, district retirees, and the D59 Education Foundation played a large role in these efforts, which yielded $4,000 towards the project before fundraising was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In all, CCSD59 and EGHS families and community members raised roughly $10,000 for a new park, a donation amount that was matched by Oasis.
“Outdoor play has so many benefits for children. It helps develop attention span, motor skills, and social skills, among others. It’s gratifying to see our CCSD59 community come together to support each other!”
-Dr. Nicole Robinson, CCSD59
“The generosity of this community is amazing. I am overjoyed to think that our students who reside in Oasis will have a safe place to play,” said Robinson. “Outdoor play has so many benefits for children – it helps develop attention span, motor skills, and social skills, among others. It is gratifying to see our CCSD59 community come together to support each other!”
Construction is underway at the park as playground equipment is already being installed. The project is expected to be finished in the next year. When it is completed, it will be a welcome sight for staff and community members that have motivated to make this vision of a new outlet for children at Oasis a reality.
“The idea that we partnered up with the community and different educational institutions to achieve this goal is very fulfilling,” said Castro. “This park will benefit families by promoting social and physical development in an area that did not allow outdoor activities.”