To the Brothers of Sigma Pi Fraternity and the Sisters of Zeta Tau Alpha Women's Fraternity:
On behalf of the children, families and staff of the Douglass Psychology Child Study Center, I would like to thank you for all of
your hard work and dedication before and during the Community Picnic and ACE Project™. The event was a great success andwe are very grateful for the amazing transformation to our playground.
A great deal of planning and coordinating went into this event and I sincerely acknowledge that. The site visits to discuss our needs and how the space is used, to take measurements and to sketch a rough draft of the project were visual signs of preplanning, but there was a great deal of behind the scenes planning that have not gone unnoticed. I know that it is challenging to coordinate with such a large number of people to delegate tasks and responsibilities and to coordinate schedules--especially when everyone is not residing under the same roof. Factor in the additional coordinating with the Zeta Tau Alpha Women's Fraternity, and I am sure that there were many emails and phone calls.
Soliciting materials donations also takes a great deal of time and effort. We were impressed by all of the cans of paint and painting supplies, the bags of sand, the lumber for the benches, flowers, plants and mulch, and let's not forget the foodhamburgers, hot dogs, pretzels, salads, snacks & chips, beverages and more! You even brought the grill! The generosity of the community and your program budget truly warms our hearts.
Everyone worked long and hard. We were impressed with the attention to detail and just how carefully and respectfully everyone completed the projects. They didn't just paint the playground, they power-washed the walls and taped the edges first. They didn'tjust rinse off the playground equipment, they power-washed everything inside and out. Planks for the benches weren't just bolted into the wall, they were sanded and stained first. The extra effort really means a lot to us.
Even the children were included. This was a special part of the day for our families. Many college students work with our children each day, but it was an extra special moment when the children were handed paintbrushes and paint rollers and encouraged to paint the playground walls alongside the fraternity sisters. My own school-aged children, a graduates of our preschool program, joined us for the event. My daughter greatly enjoyed "hanging out" with the Zeta Tau Alpha women and has already decided that she will join a women's fraternity at Rutgers someday. My son enjoyed talking with a few of the fraternity brothers and one of them encouraged him to join a fraternity when he comes to Rutgers. After taking a photo of the children with members of the fraternity, the brother pointed out that my son will have proof that he was involved with the fraternity from early on. My children already have a sense of belonging at Rutgers and when they come to Rutgers in the future the transition might be a little easier. Needless to say, in addition to being a fun & collaborative activity, creating the handprint wall mural resulted in a colorful and attractive enhancement to our playground environment.
So much was done for us that day that a single letter cannot fully encompass the enormity of the project and its impact upon our program. The physical playground environment has been transformed and is now an attractive place for the children to play. The message that the children have received is that they are important and valued by the community. The restoration of the research observation deck will allow research observers to once again view the children engaged in gross-motor and outdoor activities and will contribute to the early childhood research that takes place in our program.
We are grateful for all that you have given to us and done for us. Thank you for volunteering your time, dedication, tireless energy, and seemingly endless list of supplies and donations. We were truly overwhelmed by it all and could not help but repeatedly say, "Wow!" and "Amazing!" over and over again. Please be sure to extend our thanks and appreciation to all of the brothers of Sigma Pi Fraternity and to the sisters of Zeta Tau Alpha Women's Fraternity.
Director, Douglass Psychology Child Study Center