Fourth-grader donates first communion gift to help build inclusive playground in Peosta

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 1:01 AM CDT
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PEOSTA, Iowa (KCRG) - Lucy Wilhelm is a fourth-grader at Peosta Elementary School who loves to play with her friends, especially when she is playing on flat surfaces.

However, it gets harder on uneven surfaces, like mulch and stairs. Wilhelm had a stroke when she was born and uses a brace, so when she learned her school wanted to build an inclusive playground, she was stoked. She knew, however, getting the money for it would be hard.

”So I decided like, ‘You know what, I will just use my First Communion money and make sure everyone is really nice and kind,’” Wilhelm said.

Wilhelm donated her $250 to the playground organizers. That group of parents had raised $45,000 out of the $100,000 they need for the new playground, but recently learned they did not get a $50,000 grant.

”So that was really upsetting for the whole parent group,” Emily Schmerbach, one of the parents involved in the fundraiser, said. “That would have been half the playground so we would have been done with our fundraising by then.”

Schmerbach said, though, Wilhelm’s gift lit up a new fire under them.

”Really just to give us that push back that we needed to keep going and know that we are optimistic and we can do this,” Schmerbach said.

Schmerbach said that raising $100,000 in a small town has been an uphill battle, so they have extended their fundraising efforts to Dubuque, Farley, Epworth, and Dyersville. With half of the money still left, their goal is to have a new playground ready by next fall and Wilhelm cannot wait for what it will do for kids like her.

”If they have wheelchairs and stuff they can go on the playground too and that way it is just more safer and kinder,” Wilhelm said.

People interested in helping out can send their donation to Peosta Elementary School or via Venmo to @peostaelementarypep.

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