Girl helps raise more than $30,000 for new playground set in Rainier

About 50 volunteers turned out Saturday morning to help build new playground toys at Rainier Elementary School.

But the nearly $30,000 set couldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for an outpouring of community support and a lot of work and persistence of 11-year-old student Faith Boesch, according to Rainier School District Superintendent Tim Garchow.

“Faith came to me and said, ‘What can we do about a new playground?’ ” Garchow recalled. “I said, ‘Well, we don’t have it in the budget.’ ”

So that’s when Faith and her mom, Ida,, decided to make it happen on their own.

They wrote grant applications, organized coin drives, tapped businesses and churches for donations, and set up other fundraisers.

They even sent a video asking television host Ellen DeGeneres for support.

The Hollywood A-lister didn’t respond to their request, but folks who live in the small community in southeast Thurston County certainly did.

“Everyone stepped up,” Ida Boesch said.

“It’s just a tremendous effort of the community,” Garchow added. “Everyone’s gotten behind it.”

Volunteers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the Rainier City Council and the school district joined others in digging holes, raking rocks, securing posts and building the playground set, which is accessible to disabled students and features several elements for kids to climb, bounce and play on.

The new set is much larger than the school’s wooden set, and features toys that are geared toward older kids.

“I want to try everything,” said 8-year-old Matthew Kenney, as he took a short break with his twin brother, John, during the work party.

Their grandma Terri Rendahl predicts that the playground will be an instant hit and get plenty of use — even when school isn’t in session.

“It’s amazing what one little girl’s dream turned into,” Rendahl said.