Students from the OCM BOCES McEvoy Campus in Cortland recently helped their community to build a playground at Montgomery Park from the ground up!

In just under one week, hundreds of local business men and women, community members, students and other volunteers gathered on the empty lot and constructed the playground. The playground, which had existed on paper for several months prior to the hands-on work, originated through Play by Design engineers.

It was a true community effort. Prior to the actual build, the community raised thousands of dollars for the project and people donated food, childcare, building materials, tools and more. During the build, several local restaurants provided meals and local contractors took time off of their regular jobs to be on site to help coordinate the volunteer efforts.

There were more than 30 OCM BOCES SkillsUSA students from the McEvoy Campus that helped in the effort. For two days the students joined instructors Julie Allen, Nicole Fraccola and Kevin Auyer for several hours of hands-on hard labor. Students pitched in by doing any task needed. They painted, filled holes with cement, shoveled dirt, set posts, measured, cut and laid ground cover and moved and raked wheelbarrows full of gravel.

“Many of the students were able to make connections with future employers as well as talk about their current jobs,” said Allen. “One student even said that the connection he made confirmed for him that he knows what he wants to pursue after graduation this year.”