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Born Learning Trail Installed in Newark’s Nat Turner Park

September 29, 2012 | Newark

Born Learning Trail Ribbon Cutting

In the end, even the weather cooperated.

Courtney Price, NJPHK-Newark project manager, had been watching the skies and praying for the rain to stop. The build day for the Born Learning Trail in Nat Turner Park was just two days away…and no rain date had been set.

“I kept praying for good weather,” said Price. “We had scheduled the build for Wednesday and Thursday followed by the ribbon cutting on Friday. We had our resources and volunteers lined up. Everything was going for us, except the weather forecast.”

Her prayers were answered. The two build days came off like clockwork and the rain held off until after the ribbon cutting on Friday.

With NJPHK-Newark as the catalyst, the build days brought together community groups to erect, paint and stencil 10 engaging, interactive activities on the playground in Nat Turner Park. Once completed, the Born Learning Trail of colorful shapes, signs and hopscotch squares presents early learning opportunities that adults can use to help children learn their numbers and letters, find birds and flowers, and just have fun. “The trail is a great way for a community to use outdoor space to promote literacy and social development. The activities tap into all the senses and keep children engaged because they’re always anticipating the next activity,” explained Price.

Co-workers from the YMWCA of Newark & Vicinity helped Price determine and shop for supplies, which were funded by the United Way of Essex and West Hudson.

Forty volunteers built the trail over two days. YouthBuild Newark volunteers guided the work of teens from the Newark Leadership Academy and Central High School. “Our volunteers came ready to participate with great enthusiasm. They worked well with the materials and improvised when needed. They were respectful of the park and treated the grounds properly,” Price enthused.

On September 28, 2012, under a sunny sky, Keith Green, United Way’s president & CEO presided over the ribbon cutting flanked by Central Ward Councilman Darrin Sharif and NJPHK-Newark co-directors, Dr. Nwando Anyaoku and Michael C. Bright, and NJPHK Deputy Director Darrin Anderson.

For Price, the ribbon cutting exemplified the results that come when organizations forge together for the greater good. “All the players went above and beyond. Feedback from the community has been so positive. We’re hoping to mirror this in another Newark park and are looking for an organization that wants to take ownership.” NJPHK-Newark will be there to support them with their partners, committed volunteers and blue skies.

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