I’ve been asked Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra (available at Walmart) to nominate a community project or organization that has brought me joy and given back to my community.
Before I tell you who I am nominating, I’d like to tell you a little about my childhood. When I was a little girl, I grew up in Decatur, Georgia. At the time, it was a sleepy, suburb city of Atlanta. It had a small Southern town feel– the downtown area was used in the movie Driving Miss Daisy. We would always see people that we knew in the grocery store. In the summer months, I remember going to bed in my room listening to the big kids play “Kick the Can” in the street outside. Not too far from my house was a wonderful park, and when I got older my mom would let me walk there with my friends. We would have contests to see who could swing higher and “reach” the sky. I remember every piece of equipment in that playground so distinctly, but most particularly the skyscraper-shaped jungle gym. Most days there were only a few kids in the playground, and I knew them all. It was a sleepy, small town, church playground, and I loved it.
When I was in high school, my parents moved a bit further away from the park, and it wasn’t part of my daily life. It was never more than a quick trip away, but my days of swinging and climbing had passed. Then the park got a major face right after I finished college. New, lovely, and much fancier playground equipment was installed. I remember stopping by the park when I visited my parents, and being impressed by the park’s remodel. The church had put a great deal of energy and joy in something that gave so much back to the larger community and neighborhood.
Then the toys began to appear. Over a period of several years, the park became the “Park of Misfit Toys,” where families would leave the outgrown trikes and bikes and push cars. And it wasn’t just one or two, it was dozens and dozens– every well-loved, but outgrown outdoor toy found its way to the park. As the number of toys grew in the park, the number of families visiting the park also grew. Right now, if you go to the park, you’ll find many people playing, laughing, lunching, chatting and loving that park.
When the Big One was born, we were living in Pennsylvania, but the Decatur Toy Park managed to become a part of his childhood story anyways. When the Big One was five-month-old, I pushed him in a swing for the first time in that park. The park that I grew up swinging in. (Yes, I did take pictures of that special day in 2003.)
The Big One climbed and slid and ran and played hard in that park. He attended Church Easter Egg Hunts in the park.
Then he got too big for a playground.
After the Big One grew up, the Little Monkey discovered the Decatur Toy Park.
These days, he regularly goes with my mother to play, and we go with a variety of friends and playgroups. Four decades later, my family is still loving those swing.
The little peanut hasn’t played in the park yet, but he has visited the Toy Park:
As my family has grown and matured, the city of Decatur has grown (and GROWN). It’s not the sleepy small town of my childhood. It’s a hip, trendy place to live now. Lots of young families live there, and the city has lost some of that quiet neighborhood feel. Until you visit the Decatur Toy Park. Somehow that wonderful, beloved park brings the community together. I run into friends and fellow parents almost every time that I visit. If I don’t know someone, I’m sure to meet someone new. I love that. I love that a park can bring together an entire community of strangers and turn them into neighbors. The park is currently managed by a small church congregation, and is a labor of love. I can’t imagine how much work it is to keep up a place that has hundreds of families visiting it every day.
When we drive by the park now, the Little Monkey yells, “There’s MY park.” I have a secret though– it’s really my park. I loved it long before he did. Besides, I’ve loved it as both a child and a mother, and it has woven itself in my family’s life for nearly 4 decades.
Spread the Love with Huggies #UltraHug
That’s why I want to nominate the Decatur Toy park to win one of 10 Community Grants from Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers. Huggies knows that many of our local parks, playgrounds, beaches, and rec-centers bring children and families joy, and they are going to award 10 grants of $2000 for all that these community organizations give to families. I know that a small congregation is supporting a huge community park that is a center of family life in a city of nearly 20,000 people, and the $2,000 would help further these efforts.
Do you have a special place in your community, like I do? You can also give back to your own wonderful community organizations with the help of Huggies! Visit the Walmart Huggies Snug & Dry #UltraHug site, and submit your own #UltraHug selfie to nominate their own local community project. Here’s my #Ultrahug selfie of me and the Little Peanut (I can’t get over how grown he is!)
How to Enter the #UltraHug Selfie Contest
- From April 20th until June 25th, Huggies will be accepting all selfies of you and your baby with the hashtag #UltraHug, and featuring them in a collage on the campaign landing page. On July 6th, voting will begin to narrow down the 20 finalists to 10 winners who will win a $2,000 grant from Huggies for their nominated community initiative.
- First, take a selfie of you and your baby and upload that selfie to Twitter or Instagram. Make sure to use the hashtag #UltraHug.
- In your same post on Twitter or Instagram, make sure to include a text nomination (approximately 100 – 120 characters) including a name and/or identifying description of a community project in the US, which you would like to nominate. Make sure the community project is something near and dear to your heart.