“We made a commitment to spend $23,000 this year, and another $23,000 next year,” Lions member and past president Doug Lopez said. Lopez said the Lions Club typically gives about $2,500 to the school each year, but has recently been unusually successful in drawing in funds, raising more than $100,000 last year. According to Lopez, the $23,000 the Lions spent on the project covered what would normally cost more than $40,000, because one Lions member specializes in building playgrounds and did much of the work at cost. The playground presented special challenges to builders struggling to accommodate kids with special needs. Plastic play equipment cannot be used on the playground because static electricity interferes with equipment the children use to hear. Metal slides must be used, and a canopy was needed to keep the surface cool. The Lions placed a canopy over a wooden play area, painted it in bright colors, and attached periscopes, steering wheels and a listening tube to it. They also created new storage sheds for emergency supplies and sports equipment. “They’re thrilled,” Roche said of the children. “They’re just beside themselves.” Ramon Mora, 11, said he likes to play tetherball and use the periscope on the refurbished play area. “I like playing in the park, and climbing up and down,” Ramon said. Dylan Hernandez, 9, said he also enjoys the new playground and looks forward to his time there. “I think it’s cool,” Dylan said. “I like it because it’s so colorful, and I like to go on the slide because of the canopy. Now it’s not so hot.” Dylan said he watched the Lions working on stretching the canopy over the play area ground and asked questions while they worked. “They were nice,” Dylan said. “They show you stuff.” Brennan Ackerman, 7, said he especially likes the new play surface, which stays cooler than asphalt. “It’s kind of soft and bouncy,” Brennan said. Roche said the playground would never have been possible without the Lions. “We tried to be good stewards with it by fixing it and maintaining it when we can, but we just don’t have the resources to do it,” Roche said. “We feel very blessed by them.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsThe children are given hearing aids and implants to help them use what hearing they have. The goal of the school is to reintegrate kids into mainstream education. The school is private, however, and supervisors struggle to give the children play equipment as well as a quality education. “We don’t have access to newer playground equipment,” Roche said. “We don’t have newer things and nicer things, which is unfortunate because we’ve always taught them that they’re just like everyone else.” Roche said the playground had not been renovated in 25 years, and the sand base in which it was planted was problematic for students, who wear hearing aids and implants that can be damaged by dust. The Lions Club, which has supported the school with small, annual donations, approached the school about finishing a larger project for them. WHITTIER – At the Oralingua School of the Hearing Impaired, deaf children are taught to listen and speak just like any other youngster. But until last week, the play equipment was just not like other schools’. The dilapidated playground, some of it unusable, was repaired and improved by the Whittier Host Lions Club, which installed $40,000 in new equipment. “They gave our children something that they’ve never had before,” said school director Elisa Roche. “They gave our children a beautiful and safe place to play and, every day, we as a school reap those benefits.” Roche said the school teaches about 60 students ranging in age from 2 weeks to 11 years.