Bringing Play. Building Hope.
There are approximately 2.2 billion children worldwide. Half live in poverty—victims of war, natural disasters, injustice, and economic stress. These children are burdened by fear and physical and emotional trauma, stunting their ability to learn and grow in confidence.
Healing Begins on the Playground
In December 2018, guests attending the Mariners Women’s Christmas Brunch generously donated $12,000+ to fund the future kindergarten playground at Pastor Samuel’s Collège Lumière in Torbeck, Haiti. It was just what we needed to jumpstart our new initiative with Kids Around the World, an incredible organization whose mission it is “to create environments where kids can encounter Jesus”.
It may seem unlikely that a playground can accomplish such a feat, but for 25+ years, the folks at Kids Around the World have seen the proof that a playground is much more than just metal and plastic.
The Power of Play
As stated in the organization’s brochure, “Play opens doors, drops barriers, heals wounds and expands minds. These benefits are often what is needed most in places where the brokenness of this world hits kids the hardest through child labor and exploitation, neighborhood violence and war, or the limited resources available to children living in deep poverty. By strategically integrating play into areas of need, seeds of hope take deeper root and the opportunity for genuine harvest is realized.”
Serving 30+ Countries
Each year across the globe, Kids Around the World builds more than 100 playgrounds.
In schools throughout Haiti, where education combats poverty, Christian teachers are leveraging the proven relationship between play and academic success by unlocking creativity, imagination, problem solving and critical thinking.
We first heard about Kids Around the World from our friend, Karsten, whose life was changed when he traveled to Jordan with a group that installed a playground at a school there. These playgrounds originate in the United States, where they have blessed children for around 10 years or so at schools, churches, and neighborhood parks. When renovations necessitate their removal, Kids Around the World swoops in to save them, disassemble them and pack them up for future use.
Playground at Collège Lumière
The playground Pastor Samuel will receive was originally located at a school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It shipped out last week in a container bound for Haiti and is due to arrive in approximately 8 weeks. In June, our friend Karsten will join a small team from Mariners Church as the “lead installer” trained to teach Sam’s team of workers how to install the playground at the new school site. It will be Karsten’s first visit to Haiti, and we can’t wait to introduce him and the organization to our long-term partner on the ground.
Haiti is not the only Mariners ministry working with Kids Around the World either! Our Congo ministry is also preparing to send a playground to Goma, DRC for installation at the school founded by our long-term partners Camille and Esther N’toto.
More than Playgrounds
Founded in 1994, Kids Around the World has actually partnered with Mariners Church in the past. Perhaps you remember several food-packing events hosted by Global Outreach? These were in partnership with the organization which supports two other unique programs in addition to their playground initiative: OneMeal and KIDStory. OneMeal utilizes volunteers from all over the U.S. to package and deliver nutritional requirements to undernourished children across the globe, and through KIDStory, they assist local teachers to create environments that will effectively disciple children for Jesus.
We’re proud to be working with Kids Around the World and hope you’ll visit their website to learn more about their efforts to share the love off Jesus with children across the globe.