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Operation Playground to beautify day care center

Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 3:12 pm


Erin McCullough


Members of the community are cordially invited to help give one local playground a much-needed facelift, according to officials from Kimbo’s Wish, Inc.

Christen Hankins, the president and founder of Kimbo’s Wish, said the group is looking for volunteers to help the group revitalize the playground at Tullahoma Day Care, which took a hit during the November 2016 storms.

“Since the storms in November the children have not been able to play out on the playground due to damage and just age,” she said.

Saturday morning volunteers from the community and Kimbo’s Wish, Inc. will kick off Operation Playground in order to revitalize the playground equipment at Tullahoma Day Care Center. Children from left Torn Tomlin, Madisyn Hill, Oakley McGee, Brysen Hall, KymberleeAnn Hankins, Zackary Holley, Macc Chapin, Emilianna Staples and Colter Burt. Back from left teacher Nita Estill and director Emma Coleman. –Staff Photo by Chris Barstad

Operation Playground

The inspiration for the cause, dubbed Operation Playground, came from her 4-year-old daughter, KymberleeAnn, who attends the day care center and has been unable to use the playground equipment since November.

KymberleeAnn, who recently won a city- and state-level pageant and was accepted into the national round of competition, needed to have some humanitarian work in her community as part of the portfolio.

“After thinking about what kind of humanitarian activity I could get my 4-year-old involved in,” Hankins said, “I thought about the day care and the fact that she’s (KymberleeAnn) been so upset that she and her friends haven’t been able to play on the playground in months.”

Thus, Operation Playground was begun, and Hankins started reaching out to various other organizations and businesses for support.

“I then contacted Hands & Feet with King’s Cross Church in Tullahoma, and they were thrilled with the idea,” she said.

Next on the list was Corey Tanner with Sherwin Williams in Tullahoma.

“Mr. Tanner was also very excited to be a part of Operation Playground and has been very supportive,” she said.

Hankins also got in touch with the owner of Franklin County Paint, Tony Stone, and the owner of Crown’s Landscaping in Winchester, Cameron Crownover.

“Both companies are donating materials and plants for the project,” she said.

The project will involve clearing up brush on the playground, repainting old play equipment, and minor repairs to equipment as needed.

Hankins is excited to be helping out an organization that helps countless numbers of children each and every year.

“Not only am I thrilled that Kimbo’s Wish, Inc. is hosting this event, but more so it has turned into an amazing community wide event and the children that attend Tullahoma Day Care will again be able to thrive and grow outside while playing on their newly renovated playground,” said Hankins.

About Kimbo’s Wish, Inc.

Kimbo’s Wish, Inc., is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing joy to the lives of children with terminal illnesses and their families through a variety of activities, including granting Christmas wishes, arranging for visits from special characters and hosting birthday and “celebration of life” parties.

Kimbo’s Wish also provides financial assistance in the form of gas cards to ease the transportation burden of families constantly making trips to chemotherapy or specialist appointments.

It was begun when a friend of Hankins, Kimberly Ann “Kimbo” Faye Miller, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 16 in 2010.

After witnessing Miller’s struggles with the effects of the cancer and the chemotherapy, Hankins grew impressed with Miller’s perseverance and positive outlook on life despite her illness.

Miller went into remission briefly, but eventually succumbed to her illness in July 2012.

According to its website, Kimbo’s Wish granted its first wish one year after Kimbo passed by “surprising a little boy at this front door with Mickey Mouse holding Christmas presents.”

The group also held a fundraiser for the boy’s family, raising $300 in gas money for the parents to transport their son to and from chemotherapy.

Kimbo’s spirit lives on through Kimbo’s Wish, making sure to keep positive in the face of grave illnesses like cancer.

If you want to help

Anyone attending the cleanup effort is requested to bring chairs, tools, outside brooms, painting materials and anything else that will assist in the cleanup or redesign of the playground.

Operation Playground will take place from 9 a.m. until noon tomorrow, May 20, at Tullahoma Day Care, located at 707 Trinity Lane.

Those interested in assisting Hankins and Kimbo’s Wish with Operation Playground are encouraged to contact Hankins at 931-434-9555 or Emma Coleman, of Tullahoma Day Care, at 931-455-4197.

Erin McCullough may be reached by email at tnrept09@lcs.net.