It’s been over two years in the planning, but the wait was worth it. St. Raymond of Penafort School in the Mount Airy-Cedarbrook section of the city has a brand new playground which officially opened in mid-June, just in time for the parish summer camp.
It was a combined effort of AmeriHealth Caritas Partnership (formerly AmeriHealth Mercy Foundation) and Keystone First (Formerly Keystone Mercy Health Plan) and St. Raymond Parish itself.
The whole project cost $100,000, estimates Father Chris Walsh, pastor of St. Raymond, with AmeriHealth and Keystone picking up the balance. It was a natural partnership; North AmeriHealth and Keystone have roots with the Religious Sisters of Mercy, and Sister Kathleen Long, manager of mission services for AmeriHealth Caritas, was one of the four founding sisters of St. Raymond School in 1949.
“I went to St. Raymond School and we never had a playground,” said Tamika Yates, whose daughter Taylor is entering second grade at St. Raymond this year. “To have a playground is a great addition. Now the children will have a safe environment for play.”
“It’s another way for school kids to have enriching exercise and it also shows the parish is alive, still here and wants to draw families into the Church,” said Father Chris Walsh, pastor.
Education and health care are two of the Sisters of Mercy’s most important ministries, Sister Kathleen said. “So it is very appropriate that these organizations with Mercy origins are coming together to build a healthy community.”
The St. Raymond playground is just one of eight with more on the drawing board that AmeriHealth has funded around the country. The entire effort is designed to promote healthy lifestyles and safe environments for the families served, especially in disadvantaged areas.
The new playground is about 3,600 square feet in area taken from the parish parking lot. Covered with soft blue and black resilient squares it has an assortment of sliding boards, climbing poles, jungle gyms and tunnels. Interestingly there are no swings. That’s because most playground accidents involve swings, Father Walsh explained. “It’s geared to children 4 to 8,” he said.
“It’s another way for school kids to have enriching exercise and it also shows the parish is alive, still here and wants to draw families into the Church.”
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103