When the newly elected US President Donald Trump was preparing to take up residence in the white house, outgoing president Barak Obama offered the swing set that he had installed for his two daughters to Trump for his ten-year-old son Barron. Much to everyone’s surprise, Trump declined the offer. However, it seems that every cloud has a silver lining. The Obama family decided to donate the playground equipment to the shelter, Jobs Have Priority Naylor Road Programme in Southeast Washington DC.
When the Obamas moved into the Whitehouse in March 2009, their two daughters Sasha and Malia were aged 7 and 10 years old respectively. One afternoon after returning from school the two girls were delighted to see a wonderful swing set had been erected on the south lawn of the Whitehouse garden, below the oval office. Onlookers say that the two girls literally squealed with delight when they first saw it. For the next eight years, the girls had hours of exciting play outdoors, while their father could look down from his office through the course of a busy day discussing world affairs.
Many parents may wonder why Trump decided not accept the playground equipment – a beautiful wooden structure with swings, a fort, climbing wall, a slide and climbing ropes. Attached to it was a plaque which reads “Malia and Sasha’s castle”. Whatever Trump’s reasoning may have been, the playground set is going to be put to good use, allowing underprivileged children the opportunity to experience the joys of outdoor play.
During a celebration to mark Martin Luther King Day, the ex-president and the first lady handed over the playground equipment to the ecstatic youths at the shelter. It’s wonderful to think that these children who have so few opportunities in life can have this simple pleasure. The equipment will not only provide the city children with hours of outdoor fun, but will also aid their development both physically and mentally.
There were many who found the handing over ceremony to be an emotional occasion and were moved to tears as they imagined the extent of good that this small act of kindness would do. Donating used play equipment to children who have very little certainly won’t bring an end to world hunger or war, but it has brought immense joy to a group of Washington children who don’t have the same opportunities as many others.