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Archive for Saturday, June 13, 1992

CHILDREN LEARN GRASSROOTS ACTIVISM

June 13, 1992

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When Gerry Ann Robins, manager of Quail Creek apartments, 2111 Kasold, received a petition last month signed in crayon by eight of the complex's residents, ages 3 to 7, she decided to act. Friday afternoon, those children and their parents joined Robins in a celebration of the petition's results.

Donniella Kern, 6, had complained to her mother, Robin Loomis, about the lack of swings on a swing set adjacent to the complex. Loomis responded with a lesson in grassroots politics and explained to her daughter what a petition was, helped her with spelling and "told her to handle it."

"She really did it all by herself," Loomis said. "I even thought she had forgotten about it" because of the rain.

A week later, Donniella and her friend, Adam Vaggalis, 7, gathered the signatures of their friends and siblings and delivered the letter to Robins' home, who they thought was responsible for the swing set.

"I WENT TO all the kids' houses and they wrote their names on the tablet," Donniella said as she tried to remember the tablet's other name petition.

The petition was direct in its request: "Can you please fix the swing set for us to play on."

Robins responded by contacting the owner of the property, who hadn't done anything with the playground in four years, gaining permission to install new swings and writing each of the children a letter.

The children were ecstatic to receive the letters, which also informed them that they must play on the new swings safely and watch out for cars.

TO HONOR the children's efforts and celebrate the recent installation of the swings, Robins held a party Friday afternoon on the playground complete with soft drinks, chips and hot dogs.

As Adam enjoyed the benefits of his labor Friday afternoon, the thought of himself as an activist appeared to be too much to handle.

"It's just nice to have a swing," he said shyly. "That's all I have to say," as he ran off to the new swings.

Loomis said she was pleased to see her daughter's hard work pay off.

The other young endorsers were Katie Vaggalis, Jessaca Kern, Huyn-Hin Lee, Je-Won Lee, Young Sik Pail Kim and Megan Fuchs.

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