Idaho Falls YMCA needs your help to build new playground - East Idaho News

Idaho Falls YMCA needs your help to build new playground

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Donovan Stokes, the child care director at the Idaho Falls YMCA, shares the plans for a new playground. | Eric Grossarth,

IDAHO FALLS — After years of an idea, the Idaho Falls YMCA is working to make a new playground a reality with the community’s help.

The Y currently uses a decades-old playground for its youth and children programs. Donovan Stokes, Learning Center and child care director of the Idaho Falls Y, tells he’s wanted to build a new playground for a few years, and now is the time to make it happen.

“It’s getting older, and it’s time for an upgrade,” Stokes says. “That is why we are here today. We are in a big major campaign to build a brand new playground (with) brand new equipment (and) outdoor basketball court. We have just been hustling and trying to make sure we have the funds necessary to make that happen.”

Stokes says it’s not cheap, requiring $80,000 or more to buy the materials and complete the project. He said the Y has had tremendous support from donors like local relator Dave Nelson with the Nelson Group and ICI Construction and has secured about $40,000 so far.

“If you’re out there and you say, ‘You know, I want to help. I want to be part of history-making,’ you can go to our website,” Stokes says. “It’s just that easy.”

When you visit the website, when you’re in the donate section, specify the playground project.

Donovan Stokes with the YMCA envisions as new playground to serve its kids. | Eric Grossarth,

“We just definitely (are) needing your help to get this done,” Stokes says.

The Y promotes healthy living, youth development and social responsibility in the community, Stokes says. He says having the new playground will help its mission, especially while serving the low-income youth.

“They will be highly appreciative of this historical moment that’s happening for them,” Stokes says.

Among the Y’s fundraising efforts, on April 22, MOD Pizza in Ammon will donate 20% of the proceeds to the project. Purchases made online or through MOD’s app using the code GR180797Y will also support the project, says Jordan Binkley, general manager of the Ammon location.

When the Y raises enough funds, a completed playground will also memorialize a local single mother who supported the organization. In 2019, Christina Anderson, a single mother of two, passed away after a battle with cancer. Stokes says the playground will be dedicated in her name. You can read more about Anderon’s story here.

“We just want to show our love and appreciation for her,” Stokes says. “Anything that we needed her to do and ask of her, she was there right away, even while she was going through chemo.”

If all goes according to plan, the Y hopes to have construction on the playground beginning at the end of the summer.

“Our kids just experience so much,” Stokes adds. “We just wanted to give back by providing them a brand new playground where they and run and develop friendships. That’s part of our mission — youth development and healthy living. And what better way to do that by providing a brand new playground and outdoor basketball court for our children?”

Anyone with questions for Stokes can email him at or call him at (719) 205-3750.

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.