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New playground at DVCC campus dedicated

With the sun shining and the warm temperatures more reminsicent of summer, Thursday afternoon was the picture perfect fall day to play on and dedicate a playground.

A short dedication ceremony was held for the newly constructed security fence and playground at the Domestic Violence Crisis Center campus. There were also burgers fresh off the grill for people who wanted to continue the celebration.

The playground equipment was a major project purchased and assembled by the Minot Optimist Club and donated to the Domestic Violence Crisis Center. The playground, named “Miss K’s Playground,” was dedicated in memory of Kaitlyn Bacon, who died as a result of a motorcycle accident in 2014. Kaitlyn was the granddaughter of Dena Filler, executive director of the crisis center.

Al Hanson, member of the Minot Optimist Club and playground project manager, said the club put in approximately 350 hours of volunteer labor to put the playground together. “We started on April 8 and finished on Oct. 6,” he added. Various members put together about 6,000 pounds of playground equipment following instructions from a maintenance kit that was included, Hanson said. The playground is sturdy and durable, too, something which Hanson was able to confirm by adding, “Most of the playground is fat boy tested.”

The Minot Optimist Club put together the playground at the old safe house for the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Hanson said, but that was minor in comparison to the new playground. “We just jumped on this opportunity when it came up,” he added. “Anytime we can get involved in a youth project, we like to get involved.”

Filler was all smiles every time she glanced at the new playground. “Without the community support, this wouldn’t have happened,” she said. “The Optimist Club did a wonderful job with their help and we can’t thank them enough.” Based on the reaction from the few kids who were trying out the new playground during the ceremony, the spinning pieces were so far the most popular.

The Domestic Violence Crisis Center is a non-profit agency that provides emergency shelter, services and support to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking and human trafficking in north central North Dakota. The number of victims requiring assistance from the center continues to escalate. The number of women who found emergency shelter at the center increased 160 percent and children in shelter rose 88 percent.

The newly constructed security fence will allow the children who are staying at the shelter to find some enjoyment within the security of the fence, where they may play and just be kids, even if only for a short time. Playing on the playground will help children not have to worry about the difficult situations that involve violence and/or abuse.

“Children who come here are usually stressed and have a lot of sadness, so the playground will help,” Filler said.

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