A family's generosity leads to playground enhancements at St. Brigid School

PORTLAND---The playground at St. Brigid School in Portland has a new look thanks to the generosity of the Van Loenen Family. The playground features some new equipment, a new buddy bench, new fencing, and a new surface.

"We chose to donate to the playground upgrade, as we feel that play is a very important part of development, socialization, and learning,” said Joanne Van Loenen.

The Van Loenens, whose grandchildren attend St. Brigid, made the donation in memory of Joanne’s parents, William and Rita Kelly. The Kellys were strong believers in the value of a Catholic education. As a dedication stone near the new playground reads, “William and Rita Kelly had a lifelong love and devotion to Catholic education. St. Brigid School is exactly like the school they chose for their five children growing up in the Bronx, New York, a school which first and foremost provides children with a strong foundation in the Catholic faith, as well as a commitment to the academic excellence they need in order to thrive and excel in the world that awaits them.”

A ribbon cutting ceremony for the upgraded playground was held at the beginning of the school year, with members of the Van Loenen Family in attendance.

Joanne said she was moved to tears when she saw the buddy bench, which is designed to give children a place to sit when feeling lonely or left out so that other students can approach them and know to include them.

“What a wonderful addition to encourage students to imitate Jesus by giving them a space that will encourage them to be kind to one another, “Joanne said.

In addition to the Van Loenen Family, companies and individuals that helped to make the project a success include Benchmark, Risbara Construction, Pine State Plumbing and Heating, Zoom Drain, Burns Fencing, Coastal Road Repair, and Al Lappin.

Dedication stone
Van Loenen Family