Sometimes I get caught up in the business of being an adult but, if I were to look closely, the child in me longs to connect to those things that are simple and free. Things like play. As I get older, times of uninhibited play can seem like only a distant memory or a luxury that I’ll get to when all my adult duties are taken care of.
The police officers on our team are familiar with that feeling as they take on the important task of protecting the communities they serve back home. But today, they are literally “digging in” to this Costa Rican community to provide a place for children to let loose and have fun. They are building a play structure for the community of Concepcion Abajo de Alajuelita. The playground was taken from a school in Calgary and is now being used to bless this community in need.
This area sits just outside of the city San Jose, has just a few amenities, high crime rate, and rampant drug abuse-the young children in this community are at risk to get caught up in a perpetual cycle of drugs and despair. To choose a life of drugs over education is one no child should have to make. Kids need to have the opportunity to just be kids and have times of playful exploration. Instead children here face adult challenges and difficult decisions that could change the course of their lives.
The beauty of this project is that a playground-a physical structure with swings, slides, and climbing bars-serves no other purpose but to let kids be kids.
As part of the community structure, a playground can also be so much so much more. “It’s never about the playground,” says Dan Liesik of Kids Around the World, the Samaritan’s Purse partner who installs refurbished playgrounds in some of the world’s most devastated areas. “Instead, (providing a playground) is about creating an environment where children can come together to move, collaborate, and break down society’s lines of division.”
In doing this work these police officers are providing not only a place for children to play but are contributing to a safe and central foundation from which communities will grow healthy and strong.
It will be three days of hard work but there is an important message for the community: “Children are valued here.” Our hope is this message serves as an encouragement for those who continue to invest in the hearts and lives of the children of Costa Rica.
Please donate $10 for every shoebox you prepare. Your donations will help cover project costs, including shipping (make one combined donation for multiple shoeboxes). Consider making an additional donation to help Samaritan's Purse go beyond the shoebox and expand assistance to children, their families, and their communities. Samaritan's Purse does not provide receipts for the value of gift items included in a shoebox.