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  1. #1
    RamFan_Til_I_Die's Avatar
    RamFan_Til_I_Die is offline Registered User
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    Rams work so kids can play

    Rams work so kids can play: Team helps build playground at East St. Louis' Lincoln Park

    BY CAROLYN P. SMITH - News Democrat

    EAST ST. LOUIS -- Five-year-old Kennedy Maxwell sat on a bench with her mom and watched as workers readied an area in Lincoln Park to install new playground equipment and make the park come alive.

    Marshall said as soon as the playground was finished she was going to ask her mom, Andrea Maxwell, "to take me to the playground so I can slide, swing and just play." As she talked about the playground, a wide smile lit up her face.

    The park, designed by the youth who live in the area drew between as many as 350 people Tuesday to what was called Build Day at Lincoln Park.

    Some volunteers worked outside in the rain dragging mulch that was piled high into the area where the swing and slide were to be installed. Others dug holes to install the swings. Many of those who were down in the trenches, muddy and sweating were members of the St. Louis Rams football team. Some worked outside and others worked in the gymnasium of the Mary Brown Center assembling playground equipment. Some Rams players talked to the children.

    Adam Arata, who works with KaBOOM!, an organization that inspires the building of playgrounds, said parks are important for the well-being of children. "Parks give them a safe, fun place to play," he said

    Tyrese Crawford, 9, said he could hardly wait for the opportunity to play on the brand-new playground equipment. He thanked all those who worked on the playground.

    "Now, we can be outdoors getting some fresh air while we have fun playing," he said.

    The Rams brought their entire staff of 85 players, 45 staff members and 25 coaches out to help dig holes for support poles for the swings and other equipment. Because it was a rainy day, the ground was soaked and very muddy. But, that deterred no one.

    Quarterback Marc Bulger said it made him feel good to help build a park for children.

    "Kids deserve a nice, clean and safe place to play," he said. "I like the fact that they designed the park themselves and not a company. ... The way I grew up, the park was like a day care. We could go to the park and spend 10 hours there."

    Bulger said that without a wholesome environment in which to play and grow, kids look for the wrong things. He said he hopes the newly constructed playground will provide hours of fun for the neighborhood. "I hope they take pride in it, keep it safe and police it themselves," he said. "If they take care of it, it will take care of them."

    Running back Steven Jackson said he was glad to help out and was happy that the community came together to make sure the playground was finished in one day.

    "East St. Louis is dealing with a lot of violence," he said. "This playground can and will bring friends and families together."

    Asked what he thought about the entire Rams organization pulling together, rolling up sleeves, getting as muddy as other volunteers out there, Jackson said he was proud.

    "It helps to bring the team, the franchise and the community together to move in the right direction," he said.

    Linebacker Will Witherspoon called it a "great day" and said the kids would have hours of fun on the playground.

    Maria Spagnuolo, the wife of Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, was covered in mud.

    "I love kids," she said. "I know how important it is to them when they feel special enough that somebody would think of doing something like this for them. This park will give them something to do while they're out of school. No, I don't mind getting muddy," she said, smiling. And, yes, her husband was among the Rams who helped out.

    Irma Golliday, executive director of the East St. Louis Park District, was all smiles as she talked about the vision she had for the parks in East St. Louis. She thanked the Rams and the others who volunteered their time.

    "I am filled with pride and joy," she said. "People have worked, walked and flipped in the mud, but they are getting the job done. This is the kind of community support that is needed."


  2. #2
    TheTalkOfTheArch's Avatar
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    Re: Rams work so kids can play

    that's a great story I saw it on fox 2 news yesterday as well. its great to see the rams continuing to do great work in the St. Louis Community.

  3. #3
    TekeRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams work so kids can play

    Always good to hear stories like this. Also great to hear that all 85 players made it out there, rain and all. Good job guys!

  4. #4
    TheTalkOfTheArch's Avatar
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    Re: Rams work so kids can play

    Even Spags was out there and he lives in the heart of the city. He's making himself pretty comfortable in the Lou. Can't wait to see them in action this fall. Its becoming easier and easier to root for this team.

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