This story originally appeared in the August 2015 edition of Georgia's Cities.
In June, Pembroke city officials stood at the site of a proposed new playground to accept a $25,000 State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant that will help fund the new playground.
The city of Pembroke is hoping it will soon have a new public playground.
“We currently have no place for the kids to play,” said city Councilmember Tiffany Walraven. “We were forced to dismantle our old playground because of safety concerns.”
The city of approximately 2,300 residents and home to many military families serving at Fort Stewart Army Base does not have funds in its budget to replace the dismantled equipment but supporters are coming to the rescue. Hearing of the playground need, the Bryan County 4-H Program contacted the city and the Downtown Development Authority of Pembroke to partner on applying for a grant through State Farm Neighborhood Assist, a youth-led philanthropic program that empowers communities to identify issues in their neighborhood.
In June, Pembroke got a boost towards purchasing the proposed $60,000 new playground when the city was awarded a $25,000 State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant. The company received nearly 4,000 cause submissions from every state in the U.S. Pembroke’s playground cause was one of the 200 finalists that the State Farm Youth Advisory Board, a group of 30 students who are passionate about social responsibility, selected for online voting.
Pembroke received the grant after its proposed playground was among the top 40 vote-receiving causes on social media.
“I am honored that a community of our size will receive such a large grant to help with our playground project,” Walraven said. “This is a big win for the children and families of Pembroke. I’m proud of how our community came together to help Pembroke garner over 86,000 votes during the 20 day voting period. I received word that we had voters supporting our cause from all over our country and from countries that included Japan, Saudi Arabia, England and Canada. Despite our size, when people work together for a cause, anything is possible.”
Walvaren said the city has also received private and corporation donations towards the playground purchase and will able to use left over funds from another public project.
“We have $16,000 left to raise for the playground project,” Walvern said. “We are hoping by spring that we will be able to have this fully funded.”
Donations to the Pembroke playground fund can be made on Go Fund Me atgofundme.com/x4j27k.