School Bulletin: Making recess fun & accessible
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Pewaukee Lake Elementary School's motto is "Be Here. Be You. Belong." One second grade student is on a mission to make sure that's the case during his favorite part of the day.
"Recess is supposed to be really fun," 8-year-old Derek Walz says.
The Pewaukee School District is planning to upgrade the playgrounds at PLE, but Walz is fundraising to add something extra special. He wants to buy signs to help non-verbal students communicate how they want to play and help them have more independence. Walz says he was inspired by a classmate.
"I saw a student, who has a disability, and isn't really able to play," Walz says. "He's been standing by the doors a while… He can't really belong. It just made me feel like that's not fair to him. He can't go play on the playground with other people."
Walz is building confidence and talking to anyone about his campaign to make recess fun and accessible for everyone. He's shown his proposals to school officials and says any money leftover from the new playground signs will go toward other improvements.
"He is very aware of others, and he's got a very kind heart," Cathy Walz, Derek's mom, says. "He knows that he's got a lot of gifts, and he tends to use them to help others, which is really, really awesome. I know I have a cool kid."
So far, Walz has raised $500 but his goal is $5,000 to buy the communication boards. Next year, he will join the older students at Horizon Elementary so this gift will be for future Pewaukee Lake kids.
"Anybody can do this, and you're never too small to make a difference," Walz says.
If you would like to donate to Derek's fundraiser, email [email protected]. Checks can be made out to "Pewaukee Lake Elementary" and sent to the Walz family at 510 Lake St. Pewaukee, WI 53072.