Webb: Grant provides new playgrounds for Mercy Housing in Nampa

awebb@idahostatesman.comAugust 27, 2013 

whitney elementary owyhee boise school district education new

The Whitney Community Center, shown during its opening in 2009, will be the place to be on Thursday, when the city of Boise hosts a block party from 5 to 8 p.m. It will have games and cool activities and is free for all.

JOE JASZEWSKI — Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman Buy Photo

A $25,000 grant from the Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation is providing “upcycled” playgrounds at two Mercy Housing Northwest-Idaho properties in Nampa. Mercy Housing provides affordable housing for families with low to moderate incomes.

Crews installed the first playground, at the Comstock Apartments on Comstock Circle in Nampa, earlier this summer. It is open to the entire community and offers a basketball hoop as well as slides, monkey bars and other equipment.

Residents of the Northside Apartments will pitch in to help install the second playground, which will also be open to the public, on Friday.

Mercy Housing is still looking for volunteers to help with all or part of the daylong installation. If you think this might be a fit for your talents and interests, call Denae Warren at 939-6838 to find out more.

Residents, as well as their children, took an active role in creating their “dream playgrounds” — choosing the elements they wanted to include at both sites. The play equipment is made out of recycled materials.

Both sites had playgrounds in the past, said Warren, but they were around 30 years old and were not ADA accessible. Both new playgrounds are.

More about the organizations:

- Mercy Housing Northwest – Idaho was founded in 1982 to provide housing services for people in need. The organization manages more than 500 units, working with more than 700 adults and 275 children who can’t afford safe, quality housing below market rates.

- The Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation was founded in 2001. Members pool their contributions and vote on local grant recipients. The IWCF has given more than $1.6M to date — often, as in this case, focusing on modest projects that nonetheless have great positive impact on their communities.

GRASS-ROOTS EFFORT TO BEAUTIFY FORMER EYESORE

It’s always cool whenever anyone sees something they don’t like and actually does something to make it better.

Linda McMillin, an art teacher in Parma, got tired of seeing a whitewashed onion shed on Highway 95 every time she returned home from Ontario.

She got together with members of the community and pitched her idea of creating a mural celebrating the agriculture of Canyon County and Parma.

The owner of the building gave McMillan permission for the project. The Parma Area Task Force donated some money for supplies. Others pitched in, too: The Parma fire department hosed down the building, and Jon and Margaret Watson paid for a painter to prime the wall, and many others helped with things.

McMillin has also applied for grants to support the project. She won’t hear until later this fall whether or not she’s receiving them. She’s proceeding in any case.

Members of the public can follow her progress on the Canyon County Mural Project’s Facebook page.

They can also help with donations made out to the Parma Area Task Force, P.O. Box 60, Parma, ID 83660.

ORGANIZATION SEEKS HOST FAMILIES

The Education First Foundation for Foreign Study is a nonprofit organization that’s been operating for more than 30 years in the U.S.

The organization has been active in Boise for the last five years. It’s expecting 70 exchange students to arrive in the Treasure Valley area. They range between the ages of 15 and 18 and will attend local high schools.

The organization is looking for host families. Host families can be empty nesters, married, married with children, single, divorced or same sex-couples, ages 25 or older.

Students come with their own allowance and insurance. The organization maintains regular monthly contact with students and host families to make sure the arrangement is working well.

Contact Maureen Tyczka to learn more: maureen.effoundation@gmail.com or (208) 340-1788.

COMMUNITY CENTER BLOCK PARTY

All Boise residents are invited to a special community event at the Whitney Community Center, 1609 Owyhee St., from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday.

A slew of cool stuff is on the schedule, including a water balloon toss, foosball, volleyball and other field games coordinated by Mobile Recreation Van staff. A DJ will provide music and prizes. There will be a barbecue and much more.

It is presented by Boise Parks and Recreation, in partnership with Whitney Elementary School, Sojourn Church, Vista Neighborhood Association and Whitney Community Center. And it’s free.

ONE MORE FROM THE BOISE PUBLIC LIBRARY

The Friends of the Boise Public Library will host a comic book/science fiction sale in connection with the Boise Public Library’s Comic Con event, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check out the Comic Con activities in the Main Library, then saunter over to the Friends Warehouse, 762 River St., for the sale.

Proceeds from the sale will go toward programs at Boise Public Library.

Anna Webb: 377-6431

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