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From Vets To School Kids, New El Cajon Playground Has Something For Everyone

Video by Tarryn Mento

While you were enjoying your day off Saturday, hundreds of El Cajon volunteers were sweating it out building a new playground at a local community center in just one day. KPBS reporter Tarryn Mento was at the music-filled one-day construction and tells us the new playground isn't just for kids.

While you were enjoying your day off Saturday, hundreds of El Cajon volunteers were sweating it out building a new playground at a local community center in just one day.

If you're anything like 11-year-old Daneca Perez, the original playground at Bostonia Recreation Center didn't offer you much.

"The old one was wrecky and boring and sort of not safe," she said.

And if you're anything like the a-bit-older American Legion members who hold meetings at the center, the play space didn't offer you much either. Luckily for both groups, there's Frank Carson, El Cajon's recreation services manager.

"Beginning of August, we got an email from the East County Economic Council saying, 'Hey, there's this grant out there for playgrounds, somebody should jump on it," Carson said.

That somebody was him. And that grant was from Humana — on a mission to build multigenerational playgrounds for communities in need. What's a multigenerational playground, you ask? Humana's Russ Barbour can answer that.

Photo by Tarryn Mento

Young volunteers hold steady a piece of Bostonia Rec Center's new playground as it is secured with cement, Nov. 9, 2013.

"We're building a park for the kids to enjoy but also to provide some fitness stations around the external area of the playground for the adults," Barbour said.

The center's after-school program and American Legion meetings, earned Humana's multigenerational seal of approval. So on Saturday morning, volunteers from school children to veterans installed slides, climbing walls — yes, more than one — and exercise stations at the Bostonia Rec Center.

It's Humana's first playground in San Diego County. And maybe even El Cajon's first playground made for the community, by the community: Eleven-year-old Perez was the one who suggested the climbing walls.

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