Project Jai Play update

Starting Monday, November 12, 2012, playground equipment will be installed at the new Garfield Elementary School. This area, called "The V," will be the Early Childhood through 1st grade playground area. It will also be the first to receive soft rubberized playground surface from Project Jai Play. Once the equipment is installed, local construction company McCollom Construction will provide the sub-base and then installation of the soft surface will begin. Phase 2 of Garfield's playground efforts with PJP are expected to start in the spring. Upon completion, Project Jai Play will continue on in order to provide approximately 3,000 sq. ft. of soft surface for all of Augusta's public grade school playgrounds.

"Our work is not complete until we make sure all four grade schools have soft playground surfaces under major playground equipment. This project has been amazing and has truly shown how support our community is to keep our children safe," Jaime Simpson, Project Jai Play Co-Founder shared. "We are blessed to have such supportive people join us so that all children, no matter their needs, abilities or disabilities, are able to access equipment and their falls are cushioned by soft surface."

Project Jai Play was created in March 2012 by Simpson, paraprofessional Lycrecia Garrison and elementary educator Karen McAnulty. Since then, the project has taken on a life of its own as educators from other Augusta schools including Garfield have become involved and community businesses have made generous donations to the project. Simpson's daughter Jaiden was the inspiration behind Project Jai Play as Jaiden uses a walker. "Mulch and pea gravel surfaces do not allow Jaiden and children like her to maneuver safely to the equipment. One tiny pebble, one piece of mulch can create problems for her that yield bumps, bruises and the inability to freely play at recess. But this project is not just about one kid or one school. All children benefit from soft playground surfaces. Sure, there will still be bumps, bruises and even some breaks but soft surface cushions those falls and helps reduce more serious injuries such as those to the brain when a child falls."

According to, each year, over 200,000 children are injured on America's playgrounds.

That is one every 2.5 minutes.

Falls to the playground surface are the #1 contributing factor in playground injuries, making up 75 percent. (All USD 402 playgrounds are meet ADA standards.)

For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit or find Project Jai Play on Facebook for continuous updates on PJP's progress.