Oakland Family Services receives grant for natural playground equipment

 Kris Kasperski, director of Early Childhood Services, receives a Brooksie Way mini-grant from L. Brooks Patterson, chairman of the Brooksie Way Board of Directors, and Heidi McGlinnen, Director of Marketing and Foundation for McLaren Oakland. Photo taken by Vaughn Gurganian.

Kris Kasperski, director of Early Childhood Services, receives a Brooksie Way mini-grant from L. Brooks Patterson, chairman of the Brooksie Way Board of Directors, and Heidi McGlinnen, Director of Marketing and Foundation for McLaren Oakland. Photo taken by Vaughn Gurganian.

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Preschoolers will be able to enjoy new natural playground equipment at our Children’s Learning Center in Pontiac thanks to a $1,100 Brooksie Way mini-grant.

Proceeds from the McLaren Brooksie Way Half Marathon support programs that encourage a healthy and active lifestyle and are distributed through Brooksie Way mini-grants. Oakland Family Services was one of six organizations to receive the mini-grant on Sept. 20 during a reception at Oakland University.

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"This grant is going to help Oakland Family Services because it will give us the opportunity to purchase more equipment for the children to use to expand their gross motor skills,” said Kris Kasperski, director of Early Childhood Services. “It will help children build their core strength as well as endurance, balancing, hopping and jumping skills." 

Children will soon find on the Brigitte P. Harris Memorial Playground log hurdles, a natural balance beam, more stepping stumps and tree cookies, which are circular slices of trees that kids can use for stacking or imaginative play. Natural playgrounds provide needed unstructured play time that encourages kids to use their imagination and creativity while strengthening their growing muscles. 

This is the second time Oakland Family Services has received a Brooksie Way mini-grant. In 2011, the agency was awarded nearly $1,900 to purchase equipment to help develop children’s gross motor skills. The funding was used to buy tricycles, riding toys, a motor and balance activity set, soft balance beam, activity mats, balls and a parachute.

To date, Brooksie Way organizers have been able to award more than $200,000 to help organizations improve the quality of life of Oakland County residents.