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Flood-Destroyed Playgrounds Remediated With the Help of Western

Spitzee, Joe Clark and Holy Spirit Academy Elementary Schools receive a combined $100,000 to rebuild playgrounds.

Foothills School Division and Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools announced today that Western Communities Foundation, the charitable arm of High River-based Western Financial Group (Western), is donating $100,000 to cover the costs of remediating flood-destroyed playgrounds at Spitzee Elementary School, École Joe Clark School and Holy Spirit Academy.

The donation made to the school divisions by Western Communities Foundation was made possible by the collective contributions of Western’s parent company, Desjardins Group, Western Financial Group and its employees.

Work to remediate the three playgrounds is currently underway, with completion anticipated for Spring of 2014 for the Spitzee and Joe Clark School playgrounds and in September 2014 for the Holy Spirit Academy playground. The joint donation to the school divisions will cover costs to remediate the playgrounds – from inspection and decontamination, to replacing gravel and enhancing the sites for the community to enjoy. Funds will also be used to provide recreational equipment to students that have been temporarily displaced.

“We’re very excited that the Western Communities Foundation has stepped up to help with the remediation efforts of our playground,” said Scott Morrison, superintendent of Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools. “Not only are playgrounds important to our students, but they’re also regularly used by local families and other community groups. On behalf of all the students in High River, we extend a heartfelt thanks to the Foundation.”

Drew Chipman, assistant superintendent of Foothills School Division adds, “Playgrounds play a vital role in a child’s learning and school experience. The last six months have been a time of great change and challenge for our students, several of whom are still displaced from their homes and are living in Saddlebrook and other communities. Having fully remediated playgrounds will be a significant step in helping to return the Spitzee and Joe Clark playgrounds to the students and community, and we are extremely grateful to the Foundation and Western employees. ”

“Spitzee, Joe Clark and Holy Spirit Academy elementary schools playgrounds were significantly impacted by the floods that hit High River and surrounding communities,” said Jeff Burke, president of Western Financial Group. “High River is our home and we are thrilled to be able to help give local children a safe place to play. Today’s donation was made possible by the many employees of Western that rallied together to support families and victims, and by our parent company, Desjardins Group, who generously matched the donation made by Western. Rebuilding our schools is an important step in revitalizing our community.”

“We’re thrilled to support the High River community by restoring these playgrounds,” added Monique F. Leroux, chair of the board, president and CEO of Desjardins Group. “We know that school playgrounds play an important role in fostering community, which is important to so many of Western Financial Group’s employees and their families.”

Deputy Mayor Don Moore, along with Western president, Jeff Burke and representatives from Desjardins Group and both school divisions will meet at the École Joe Clark gymnasium (1208 9 Ave SE, High River) at 12 p.m. today to formally announce the donation and provide a photo opportunity for media. Once remediation is complete, both School Divisions and Western Financial Group will hold community events and ribbon-cutting ceremonies to celebrate the playgrounds’ return to their communities.

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