WHEATFIELDS, Ariz. - Dine; for Community Action, a grass-roots organization, was successful in securing funding for a community-built playground near Wheatfields Lake. Project leader and Wheatfields community member Tina James-Tafoya said she was ecstatic.
''We presented the issue to our community and they overwhelmingly voted in favor of this project and really in the betterment of our community.''
DCA presented its community-built playground proposal to the Tsaile, Wheatfields and Black Rock Chapter May 18, but discussions on the project had gone on for two years. Several months ago, the Navajo Nation Fish & Wildlife Department gave the group the go-ahead to begin its planning. The tribal department was awaiting final land withdrawal procedures before giving the group notice.
''The idea of a playground stems from my childhood,'' James-Tafoya said. ''I remember as kids, my brothers and I would take wire cutters to the school playground just to get inside to play. It's sad our children still don't have access to safe places to play.''
Along with the newly formed organization, she plans to change that. DCA has adopted the mission of ''creating positive and healthy play spaces through community action.'' It's the latter part of the mission statement that the organization said is essential. A community build - where everyone helps build, where everyone gets their hands dirty - is the unique part of the project.
''We are not waiting for someone else to build this for us; we're tired of waiting,'' James-Tafoya said. ''This is our community and only we can effect change and its [the community's] improvement.''
She said every cent of the $50,000 allocated by the chapter will be spent on playground equipment. Additional money is still needed to purchase more equipment and supplies for building benches and tables. The one-day build is scheduled for July 23 with a grand opening July 24. ''It's an ambitious project, but DCA is ready for it and we have commitments from many others to volunteer.''
For more information on volunteering or donating to the project, contact Dine' for Community Action at P.O. Box 91, Tsaile, AZ 86556 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.