Spruce Up Day at Passage Community 

Posted on May 24th, 2019

A sunny, 70-degree Saturday in May served as a perfect backdrop for Spruce Up Day, a volunteer-led effort to refresh the outdoor playground of Simpson’s Passage Community for the summer months.  

A team of twenty-one Bright Horizons volunteers, led by Bright Horizons employee and long-time Simpson volunteer Jill King, completed hands-on projects to maintain the playground as a functional and enjoyable space for families to play and relax together.  

The Passage Community is home for 14 families and 20 children in Simpson’s Family Housing Program. Eighteen of the children participate in onsite tutoring through Simpson’s Children and Youth Services program. 

Children from three families at Passage Community eagerly participated in Spruce Up Day activities with the volunteers. “The kids were super engaged — they helped with projects and answered all kinds of questions about school and Passage tutoring.  I think they truly enjoyed themselves because they stayed and helped for hours! The volunteers were incredibly impressed that the kids were so outgoing and helpful,” shares Jamie Gates, Simpson’s Education Support Coordinator and event liaison. 

The crew worked hard and accomplished an incredible list of projects:

  • Built and installed a new tetherball game, added log steps that encourage balance and imaginative play, and poured new sand in the sandbox for kids who love to dig and create.  
  • Moved loads and loads of mulch, removing the old and refreshing the space with eight cubic yards of new mulch. 
  • Planted beautiful, easytomanage plants, added a coat of fresh paint to outside doors, reattached some fun, multi-sensory toys on the fence, and varnished and fixed the door on the Little Free Library. 
  • Constructed a welcoming swinging bench, so parents have a calming place to sit while older children play. The swing is stenciled with the Passage Community name and is secured in a new cement slab poured by the team. 

Jill King reflected on the day and her team’s willingness to serve with Simpson:  

“Volunteers wore clothes they didn’t mind getting dirty and brought their gloves, rakes, pitch forks, wheelbarrows, and shovels. Everyone had a wonderful day! We are so excited we were able to get the play area spruced up for summer.  … We are in awe of all the great work that Simpson does every day! We are happy we can support Simpson in this small way.” 

Jill King and her family have been involved in helping with Simpson’s Bright Spaces for over nine years.

This meaningful day of service and connection builds upon Simpson’s nearly 10-year partnership with Bright Horizons — and the creativity and dedication of Jill King. Bright Horizons offers a Bright Space program that encourages employees to work with non-profit agencies to create warm, safe spaces for children to play and experience the joy of childhood. In the fall of 2015, Jill worked with the Bright Spaces program to create three child-friendly Bright Spaces for Simpson, one of which is the playground area at Passage Community.  

Simpson Housing Services is grateful for the generosity and partnership of the Bright Horizons volunteer team, the Bright Horizons Foundation and their Bright Spaces program, and kettlebells4kids.org.