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Joey's Park builders to team up with Belmont Serves to recruit volunteers

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  August 30, 2013 02:18 PM

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The organization behind building a new Joey's Park will team up with the religious council behind Belmont Serves, a town-wide volunteer day effort on Oct. 14, to recruit locals to help construct the new playground in October.

“This is a win-win for both organizations,” said Ellen Schreiber, co-chair of the Friends of Joey’s Park, in a statement. “Belmont Serves has volunteers and needs projects; we have a project and need volunteers.”

The park, built in 1989 in the memory of a local boy who died at 12 years old from cystic fibrosis, closed briefly in 2011 after a safety review raised concerns, and reopened on a temporary basis only after some play equipment was removed.

Now, community members are using funds that they have been raising to renovate the playground in an old-fashioned community barn-raising. Professional playground builders from Play By Design will oversee teams of volunteers during the six-day build in October.

“The Joey’s Park community build shares the spirit of Belmont Serves,” Schreiber said. “Our six-day barn-raising is about more than building a playground, it’s about building community.”

Belmont Serves will be headquartered next to the Joey’s Park site at the Winn Brook Elementary School. As in past years, volunteers will be able to sign up in advance or simply show up at 8 a.m. on the morning of Oct. 14, which is also Columbus Day this year.

Belmont Serves volunteers will have the option of helping to build the new Joey’s Park playground, collecting donations for the food pantry or working on a conservation project.

“It’s a half-day, no major commitment,” said John Robotham, treasurer of the Belmont Religious Council, which organizes Belmont Serves. “You do something for the town that’s completely tangible, you’ll see what you did at the end of four hours. Kids love it, they feel so good about helping others.”

Last year Belmont Serves attracted 400 volunteers who painted fences, cleared walking trails and collected 2000 bags of groceries for the Belmont Food Pantry.

“Every year we get to know people we would not know otherwise,” said Doug John, president of the Belmont Religious Council. “One of our goals is to help people reach out to one another, so they better understand each other.”

Belmont Serves and the Friends of Joey’s Park volunteers will come together again at 4 p.m. on Columbus Day as part of town-wide celebration to mark the completion of the new Joey’s Park. The event is open to the public.

The old playground was demolished this month as organization officials prepare to build the new site.

“It’s quite emotional," Diane Miller, co-chair of the organization, previously said. "Like so many other people, I have wonderful memories of my children playing on this structure. It’s difficult to say good-bye, but we are excited to preserve the park’s name and an amazing community legacy with a new Joey’s Park.”

For more information, visit the Belmont Serves website, or the Joey's Park website.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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