New playground allows for child development at Kelowna’s Starbright

City of Kelowna firefighter Jason Picklyk and city councillor Mohini Singh fundraised for the playground. (Zach Roman/ Black Press Media)
City of Kelowna firefighter Jason Picklyk and city councillor Mohini Singh fundraised for the playground. (Zach Roman/ Black Press Media)City of Kelowna firefighter Jason Picklyk and city councillor Mohini Singh fundraised for the playground. (Zach Roman/ Black Press Media) City of Kelowna firefighter Jason Picklyk and city councillor Mohini Singh fundraised for the playground. (Zach Roman/ Black Press Media)
Occupational therapist Katie Johnston tests out the playground equipment. (Zach Roman/ Black Press Media)Occupational therapist Katie Johnston tests out the playground equipment. (Zach Roman/ Black Press Media)
Occupational therapist Katie Johnston tests out the playground equipment. (Zach Roman/ Black Press Media)Occupational therapist Katie Johnston tests out the playground equipment. (Zach Roman/ Black Press Media)
Occupational therapist Katie Johnston and operations manager Mieke Krus test out the playground equipment. (Zach Roman/ Black Press Media)

Four years in the making and a fund-raising effort of $80,000, Starbright in Kelowna now has a unique playground to assist with child development.

The idea for the playground was sparked by city councillor Mohini Singh and City of Kelowna firefighter Jason Picklyk. The two have been supporters and fundraisers for the child development centre for many years, with a focus on the autism program.

“Over the last two years, we have been aggressively fundraising so we could make it happen,” said Singh.

According to Rhonda Nelson, Starbright Children’s Development Centre executive director, they already had a playground for younger children but it wasn’t helping as much with their therapy.

“With Mohini and Jason coming on to help fundraise, we are a day away from a beautiful play space where the kids are going to be excited to be in but are also going to be able to practice those all-important development physical skills,” explained Nelson.

The playground will serve well over 100 children who attend Starbright and allow them to practice their fine motor skills, gross motor skills as well as self-regulation technics by using a unique swing that promotes a calming linear motion.

The area will also feature a bubble rider for movement and sensory panels for children to engage with sound.

Originally, the area for the playground was owned by the City of Kelowna, Singh was able to apply for rezoning and secure the land.

“It really came together because of all of those who donated to this little play area, I am so grateful they believed in our vision,” said Singh. “Also, Kelowna Toyota really came through, as we needed a little bit more money and they came through and put us over the top.”

Starbright’s new playground is set to open next week.

READ MORE: $185k in grants go to five different Kelowna youth programs

READ MORE: Outdoor Kelowna art exhibit documents first month of Myanmar military coup


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