The fourth United Way of Bradley County learning trail was installed this past Friday at the front of the club, and two games for children attending the club included painting on the sidewalk.
The installation of signs and painted sidewalks were done by Polk County volunteers and members of the United Way staff and Benton club.
“This is another example of United Way (of Bradley County) getting more and more involved with Polk County,” said volunteer Chris Newton, a Polk County native. “We appreciate that United Way is doing more in its service area in Polk County.”
Earlier this year, funds were distributed from the Polk County campaign to four organizations: the Benton Lions Club, Polk County Imagination Library, the Copper Basin Medical Center and the Benton Boys and Girls Club. These funds came from United Way contributions made in Polk County and those within Bradley County that were designated by donors back to Polk County.
“These funds will make a difference in our county this year, and hopefully, as the United Way campaign grows here in Polk County, will make an even bigger difference in the future,” Newton noted.
As will the work done at the Boys and Girls Clubs in Benton.
“The learning trail signs provide caregivers with practical tips to engage their children in early learning activities,” said Sarah Haratine, Community Impact Associate with United Way of Bradley County and coordinator of the learning trail projects. “Caregivers of all backgrounds can learn creative ways to get their children ready for school.”
The three previous learning trails are located on the Cleveland-Bradley Greenway surrounding the People for Care and Learning playground, at Fletcher Park off Tennessee Nursery Road, and at the Blythe Avenue Family Support Center. The latter two were funded by a Rotary Club of Cleveland grant, and installed by volunteers from Target.
“The Kiwanis Club provided the funding for the learning trail at the Benton club, and we thank them for their contribution toward helping children and families in Polk County,” Haratine said.
Along with the learning trail at the Boys and Girls Club, volunteers also painted a hopscotch game on the sidewalk, as well as a four-square game. They were immediate hits to the children attending the club.
“They (Boys and Girls Club skids) waited just long enough for the paint to dry, then were out there playing on them,” said D.J. Grady, Club interim director. “They were really excited.”
Haratine said that those who volunteered to work at the site were equally excited.
“We want to thank the United Way for providing these additions to our club,” said Newton. “You can already tell the anticipation from the boys and girls on the new games on the sidewalk, and we know the learning trail will give opportunities for children and adults to participate in activities that will benefit them now and for years to come.”
This “Day of Action” is the first specifically for Polk County. The second United Way of Bradley County “Day of Action” will be on Aug. 1, with a campaign kickoff luncheon scheduled that day, at noon, at the Whirlpool plant on Benton Pike.