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Donor Dedicates 65th Birthday to Refurbishing Play Structure at Storyteller Children’s Center

Storyteller Children’s Center has a “play date” later this month with a very special donor, Charles Newman, who has dedicated his 65th birthday celebration to raising money and refurbishing a play structure at the preschool for homeless and at-risk children.

Construction of the play structure will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, June 21, at 2121 De la Vina St.

At the beginning of the year, Newman was contemplating his pending 65th birthday. Should he have a party? Should he take a trip? Should he buy himself a fancy toy? Many of the options made him feel a little self-indulgent, so he decided he wanted to do something to give back. As a father and grandfather, he decided doing something for children would mean the most to him.

After doing a little research, he paid a visit to Terri Allison, the executive director of Storyteller Children’s Center. She gave him a tour of Storyteller’s two locations, and mentioned how the play structure at one of the schools was in a bit of disrepair and needed some updating.

“That’s when a light bulb went off in my head,” Newman said. “I had found the thing I wanted to do for my birthday — upgrade the play structure for the children.”

He started inviting friends and family to his March birthday celebration, asking them to make a donation to Storyteller for the play structure in lieu of giving a gift, an effort that soon became known as “Project 65.” The project was hugely successful, raising more than $6,000 for the play structure.

Later this month, the renovation will become a reality. Newman and a group of friends and family will remove the portions of the play structure that need updating and construct a two-level wooden structure that will be set upon a rubberized surface.

“We are so thankful that Charles decided to celebrate his birthday by helping us,” said Allison, whose husband will also help with the building project. “This updated structure will not only last for many years to come, but will bring thousands of hours of joy to so many of our most needy children.”

Storyteller Children’s Center provides all day, tuition-free preschool for low-income and at-risk children, as well as support services for their families. Services include healthy meals, onsite therapy and counseling, and vision and dental screenings.

To learn more about this project or about Storyteller Children’s Center, please contact Director of Development Rob Grayson at 805.682.9585.

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