The Amazing Playground Project

Interview by Dana Bertermann

At age 7, Ethan Strong decided that kids in Africa needed a playground. Here, his dad Joel describes how Ethan set about making that happen.

Ethan Strong stands in front of his inspiration

What first gave Ethan the idea to raise money for the new playground?

Over Christmas, we wanted Ethan to think about giving more than receiving. We asked him to pray about how he could help others and  choose a cause. He  said he wanted to help the orphans in Africa, so I set up a meeting for Ethan and Dan, the director of Lahash  to talk about what was needed. During the conversation, Ethan talked about how he loved playing on playgrounds; Dan mentioned that  Amazing Grace Children’s Home did not have one and it would be special for them to get one.

How did he decide to raise the funds?

He helped make a YouTube video and brochure to advertise the project, and then gave those out and spoke to his friends at school and church. We also held a playground party for kids to come out to a playground here in the US, have some African-inspired snacks, watch a video about the project, and play together.

With some marketing magic, the project is born!

How did this experience connect Ethan with kids in East Africa?

Ethan was really excited to be able to help out and is excited to see
the pictures of the playground being built in Africa. What helped him connect the most to the kids in Africa was watching the videos from Lahash and seeing pictures of playground designs, schools and how kids live there. It helped him understand how different his life is and how he can make a difference in other kids’ lives.

Any plans for projects in the future?

Lord willing, we will keep doing at least one project a year with the hope that in a couple of years, the boys can go over and meet the kids and experience life in Africa for themselves.

Ethan lives with his parents Joel and Kristy, and her brother Caedmon in Tigard, Oregon, where he loves playing on the monkey bars.

Article adapted from Hope Is Alive, a quarterly magazine publication of Lahash International. You can sign-up online to receive this free magazine.