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Volunteers Come Together To Build Playground For School

By Greg Argos

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Thursday, more than 200 community volunteers came together to build a playground for a school that never had one.

"Normally they play in the yard or blacktop, but today is special because we're all out here building them a new playground," said Eric Berkowitz, who was helping with the build. He was helping as part of the Germination Project, an organization whose student fellows help improve Philadelphia's civic future.

The playground will be used by the 709 students at Antonia Pantoja Charter School. Located in North Philadelphia, most of the children who make up the school are from lower income backgrounds. There are not many safe outdoor spaces for the students to enjoy, and their gym is located in a small, converted classroom.

"There is a lot of planning that goes into today that makes it successful. We probably started discussion about this build back in June, maybe May?" said Linda Pickles, with Berkadia Commerical Mortgage, one of the primary backers of the project.

All throughout the morning and afternoon, students from the school were allowed to take a break from class and thank the volunteers who helped build the playground.

"I've been here for seven years and after seven years, we're finally able to have a playground," said seventh grader Samantha Fred.

"(I'm) super excited and super happy!" she continued.

The students are off Friday and Monday because of the papal visit. They'll be able to use the playground Tuesday.

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