On Apr. 19, The Raw Dogs will be performing at Average Joe’s in Lethbridge to help raise funds for a new playground at Coalhurst Elementary School (CES).“We were looking to have kind of a community night where parents could get together – having more participation from parents outside of the school setting. We thought it would help in engagement and also fundraise – kill two birds with one stone,” said Chelsey Hurt, member of the CES parent council and Friends of Coalhurst Elementary School Society playground committee.Hurt said Average Joe’s has been great, as the sports bar agreed to host the fundraising event.“They had done a couple of other fundraisers before for some local organizations,” said Hurt, adding one of the teachers at CES knew one of the band members and approached them and the band agreed to do the show pro bono.In the past, the playground committee held an art auction and smaller scale typical school-based fundraisers. “We’re planning on doing another more community-minded event at the end of May. It will be a community garage sale/kids activities and games/barbecue. We partnered with the Early Childhood Mapping project initiative for that. They’re going to help sponsor that,” said Hurt, adding the playground committee is looking for donated items and volunteers.According to Hurt, the committee, which has been official for the past year, has also partnered with Scotiabank north in Lethbridge. Scotiabank is assisting the group with volunteers and help match funds for the event.Right now there is an old outdated wooden playground at CES, which the group was told would be torn down earlier this year.“Initially, they wanted to tear it down in March. We kind of said, ‘Can you wait until we can just fundraise a bit more?’ We’re never quite sure when the axe is going to drop,” said Hurt.The new playground, Hurt said, is going to be an accessible inclusive playground, which means it will be barrier-free and will be a community park. The area will also feature walking paths, picnic tables, natural landscaping and lighting. The playground being built typically would serve children aged five to 12. There will also be a second playground built to cater to newborns to kids aged three to four. “We’re doing that because Coalhurst was identified as a high-risk town in southern Alberta for having developmental delays, specifically physical gross motor skills,” said Hurt.The playground committee began fundraising in October 2013. As of January 2014, approximately $20,000 has been raised. The planned completion date for the playground and park project is spring 2015.An evening with The Raw Dogs and special guests. The fundraiser starts at 9 p.m. CES representatives will be at the venue at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 are available at the CES office, from select CES parents and tickets will be available at the door.
“We are also selling raffle tickets with the draw taking place at Average Joe’s. Tickets are $2 each and can be purchased at CES and from local students. The prizes include a complete car detailing, a grocery store gift card, and a 50 ” LED TV. Upcoming fundraisers include potentially highway clean-up on May 3. However, we are first on the waiting list,” added Hurt.