Photo by Johnny Jackson
Boys test out the new playground at Kinship Care Resource Center in Jonesboro.
JONESBORO — Where there were just pine trees and shrubs there is now a state-of-the-art playground.
“We’ve been watching it being built for months and waiting for a chance to play on it,” said Naomi Haynes, a child at Kinship Care Resource Center, which unveiled its new playground this week.
Haynes, 8, is a second-grader at Mt. Zion Primary School in Stockbridge and she is being raised by her grandmother, Tiffany Roberts.
The pair are members of the center. It is a resource to the area’s grandparents who have become the primary caregivers of a third generation.
Roberts said she raised her children in the 1980s and 1990s. She returned to the parenting role about six years ago.
“I’ve had her [Haynes] since she was 2,” Roberts said. “It’s been very challenging but Kinship has made a world of difference.”
The Kinship Care program provides grandparents with support in the way of schooling, counseling, financial literacy, recreational activities and health and fitness.
“They give you a lot of support and opportunities for giving kids activities — like tutoring and field trips,” said Roberts.
She acknowledged technology has caught up with her in the decade or two since she parented small children. She said that generational gap has been challenging.
“The technology is the biggest thing for me,” she said. “They’re exposed to so much these days.”
The playground, though, is something her generation and her granddaughter have in common. This generation’s children appear to enjoy the slides, monkey bars and swing sets as much as their parents and grandparents did.
The children ran full out onto the playground following the grand opening ceremony this week.
Thom Snyder, the state’s aging services coordinator, gave remarks for the occasion.
“I’m here really to say, ‘thank you,’” he said. “There are 100,000 grandparents raising grandchildren in the state of Georgia and that number is growing everyday.”
Kinship Care Program Coordinator Angie Burda also spoke during the ceremony. She said the $140,000 playground was funded through a federal Housing and Urban Development grant.
Burda thanked Kompan, the international company that manufactured and erected the seven-component playground. She said the play space is made of earth-friendly materials and recycled plastics and rubber.
The playground is a welcome sight at the center at 849 Battle Creek Road in Jonesboro.
Burda said the Kinship Care program has had to visit different locations in the past to give children access to public playground facilities, traveling as far away as Heritage Park in McDonough.
The center’s assistant director, Tori Strawter-Tanks, opened Tuesday’s ceremonies by introducing Clayton County Commission Chairman Jeff Turner who gave welcoming remarks.
Other speakers included state Rep. Rev. Mike Glanton (D-Jonesboro), District 1 Commissioner Sonna Singleton, Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill, Clayton County Community Development Director Partick Ejike, Clayton County Senior Services Director Mary Byrd and Georgia Human Services Department Aging Services Coordinator Thom Snyder.