Students help design playground to honor Christina-Taylor Green - Tucson News Now

Students help design playground to honor Christina-Taylor Green

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - A playground has been dedicated in honor of Christina-Taylor Green, the youngest victim of the January 8th shooting in Tucson.

Friends and family members gathered for the grand opening of the playground which was located at Mesa Verde Elementary School.  Green had been in third grade there, and was on student council.

On January 8th, Green and her neighbor Susan Hileman had gone to a meet-and-greet with U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, when she was killed by gunman who opened fire.

One of the projects she had been passionate about, was building a playground at her school.

During the grand opening on Saturday, one friend described it as a small playground with a big message.

That was the message of taking action when one saw a need in the community.

Her father, John Green said that was what his daughter lived for.  Now, they hoped to carry out her wishes.  It was a big lesson taught to him by his own child.

Butterflies were released at the grand opening ceremony.  In old native American tradition, secret wishes whispered while releasing butterflies come true.

If that tradition held true, in this case the wish for a playground had indeed become reality.

"It's beyond our wildest dreams," said Foster Helper, Principal of Mesa Verde Elementary school.  Hepler said the playground had state of the art equipment, and safety standards that exceeded what they had imagined.

Family members said tragedy and tears had sparked the call to action.

It was the death of a young child, that brought a community together.

"It helps us to know Christina will not be forgotten. It's one of our dreams," said John Green.

As soon as the ribbon was cut, dozens of kids ran screaming towards the swing sets, monkey bars, and slide.

Laughter filled the air.

John and Roxanne Green hoped the playground would be a place where the community could begin to heal.  It was important for the children, and also for them.

"We're never going to really get over the loss of our daughter but us helping others is what Christina taught us and it is," said Green.

Overwhelmed by the support they have seen, the Green family said donations had been coming in from all over the country for Roxanne Green's new passion, a foundation bearing the name of her child.

She was spending all her energy nurturing the Christina-Taylor Green foundation.  An effort that was helping her heal.

"This is one of the happiest moments we've had in a long time."

It was a foundation that would help keep the name of her child alive.

On the brand new playground that Christina-Taylor had once dreamed of playing in, the Green family stood and smiled, as they  saw the difference their daughter had made, in her death.

The third grader had sparked others to act, even though she was gone.

Many children donated money for the playground, one even donated his week's lunch money.

"My mom kept giving me money when I did my chores," said Hurrell.

Students helped design the playground, they even helped pick out all the equipment, sticking to the theme of their school colors.

"It's red, white, and blue, and it's filled with her friends. She was a patriot. She was a girlfriend," said Tucson shooting survivor Susan Hileman.

Principal Hepler said Christina-Taylor had a smile that was contagious and infections.

"I bet she's smiling right now," said Hepler.

The Allstate Foundation donated $140,000 to help make this playground a reality.

 

 

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