(l-r) EMP principal Lisa Tenta and student Madison Roe are presented a cheque in the amount of $1

A passion for playgrounds

Madison Roe, a Grade 3 student, recently decided to do something a bit different for her birthday party.

While it’s not the season of giving just yet, Eileen Madson Primary School (EMP) student Madison Roe is already generously making a difference in her school community.

“We’re always talking at EMP about being a bucket filler,” said principal Lisa Tenta. “I just think this is what it’s all about. People of all ages can really make a difference, and she really has made a difference in our school community. I think she’s touched a lot of hearts.”

Roe, a Grade 3 student, recently decided to do something a bit different for her birthday party. Instead of asking friends to bring presents, she asked them to bring donations to help EMP purchase and install new wheelchair accessible playground equipment.

No good deed goes unnoticed, and a family friend who attended Roe’s birthday party told her co-workers at Kootenay Savings Credit Union what the Grade 3 student was trying to accomplish.

At Kootenay Savings Credit Union in Invermere each year, staff pay $1 every Friday for the privilege of dressing casually at work, and at the end of the year the total amount is donated to a worthy cause. After hearing about Roe, the staff decided to donate to her cause in the amount of $1,272.

“We just thought it was really touching that someone of that tender age could feel so driven and passionate to want to help someone,” Alice Kazakoff of Kootenay Savings said.

Along with the $550 Roe raised from her birthday party, EMP has now been able to install a full-support swing so that any student in a wheelchair can swing freely and independently.

“Honestly, the day that the full support swing was installed it was incredible,” Tenta said. “The whole school gathered around with big smiles, staff and students.”

At a recent meeting with school board administrators, Roe presented a list of potential additions or upgrades to the school playground equipment using information obtained from the internet. Currently, EMP is waiting for proposals from Blue Imp, a Canadian playground equipment manufacturer before they move forward. Tenta herself has been looking into wheelchair accessible playground equipment to make use of the $25,000 provincial grant the school received in June. Tenta said they’ll likely roll out new equipment in stages, with several pieces hopefully being able to be used by the end of the year.