H&R Block Helps Create a New Space for Families in New Jersey’s West Milford Neighborhood with Community-Built Playground

February 02, 2022 : H&R Block

Hear from the residents of New Jersey’s West Milford neighborhood on how H&R Block helped them create a new playground for families and friends to come together.  

“It makes my heart so happy to come to the playground after lunch with my 3-year-old and see another family and have a place for all the kids to come after school that is practically in our backyard. I have also noticed an increased interest in planning community events involving neighborhood children. The playground has been a catalyst for overall community involvement and improvement,” said Diane Jansson, a West Milford resident and member of the Lindy’s Lake community. 

Over the last few years, the Lindy’s Lake community has seen an influx of young families moving in, prompting two local moms to begin raising funds for a new playground. Elisabeth Kenney, a six-year resident of West Milford, joined Jansson in the effort to bring a new playground to life. As a member of the Lindy’s Lake community, where she resides with her two daughters, Keeney saw an opportunity to transform the space into a safe and updated place for children to play. 

“I personally wanted to take on the playground renovation project the second I moved into the neighborhood. There was an existing ‘playground’ consisting of a few rusty pieces of equipment and a discarded tractor tire. It was an eyesore and unsafe for kids to play on. I started petitioning other community members for help and support, and we started fundraising. During our fundraising efforts, Diane connected with someone who told us about the program. We thought it was a long shot but completed the initial application anyway and the rest is history,” said Kenney of how she learned about the opportunity to nominate her community for a Make Every Block Better project. 

New Jersey’s West Milford neighborhood was selected as a Make Every Block Better project in 2021, as part of H&R Block and Nextdoor’s partnership to connect neighbors and uplift their communities. H&R Block and Nextdoor provided funding for the landscaping work to clear the space, tree trimming, cement for the playground structures and two playground structures, including monkey bars and a slide, which helped turn Jansson and Kenney’s dream project into a reality for the residents of West Milford. 

“Our playground project was almost entirely built by volunteers,” said Kenney.

The community came together as a team and everyone helped and contributed with what they could. Residents planted, dug holes and used available local resources. 

“The local kids and parents are spending more time together and helping to build better relationships with neighbors at the playground, but it has also increased our community pride,” said Kenney, on what being selected for the project has meant to the West Milford community. 

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