‘Playground Takeover’ Program Teaching Values to KidsJune 14, 2016, By Ron Fisher, Johnstown Tribune-Democrat
The Coaches 4 Kids Foundation and Goodwill GoodGuides Youth Mentoring Program have teamed up for project “Playground Takeover.”
The special project kicked-off Monday afternoon and will continue on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Wood Street playground in Hornerstown.
“This project has been my baby for about four years now,” said Tony Penna Sr., founder of Coaches 4 Kids Foundation.
“We are trying to teach values like manners, character, good sportsmanship, and hopefully it will carry on into the schools and they can be better representatives in the community,” Penna said.
Penna, a sports coach of more than 40 years, was raised by a single parent and feels that the playground played a significant role in his upbringing.
“As a child, I spent many of my summers on playgrounds, and it is unfortunate that there is no safe haven for these kids to play outdoors,” Penna said.
“Today’s event is pretty fun,” Suncire Flemmings, 11, said. “The kids are getting along, and it’s kids of all ages.”
GoodGuides Youth Mentoring Program Manager, Cindy O’Connor calls the project “an outreach evening program that is still in need of the community’s help.” There is a huge need for volunteers and donations such as water, sunscreen and other resources as well, said O’Connor.
Johnstown police Officer Donald Hess, who also serves as a school resource officer for Greater Johnstown School District, was present at Monday’s event in an effort to be more proactive in the city.
“We are just trying to do our small part in helping out in the community as well,” Hess said.
“You have to be able to educate these kids and do it while they’re still young,” Penna said.
“And that’s my goal.”