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SAN ANTONIO, TX, July 9, 2013 - The Boys Town Texas campus, 8410 Flanagan St. on San Antonio's northwest side, is getting a new playground thanks to the efforts of San Marcos-based telecommunications firm Grande Communications

Through its employee philanthropy club, Grande Cares, 22 Grande Communications employees in San Antonio are donating their personal time and money to help their local community by renovating the Boys Town playground.

Stephanie Cano-Qualls, a member of Grande Cares, along with her husband Marcus Qualls took a tour of the facility earlier this year and said they were saddened to see what was serving as a playground for the children in the five foster homes on the campus.

Campus officials had applied for an earlier grant from Grande Cares for a benefit 10K/5K/fun run and invited Stephanie to visit the campus when they picked up the funding check.

"So we came, took a tour, and I saw that (playground) and I thought, that's just so sad," Cano-Qualls said.

When she raised the idea of helping the campus at her next staff meeting, Darnell Williams , a member of the committee, told the group that he had graduated from the campus.

"He shared his story with our employees in the San Antonio office and everybody went all in and wanted to back him," Cano Qualls said. "We're all out here basically to support the cause and to support Darnell."

Grande Communications is providing the campus a new $12,500 playground purchased through Rainbow Play Systems Inc. and is also pitching in to help repair the facility's volleyball court and swimming pool.

The new playground features four swings ”€ including a rope swing ”€ a rock wall, a slide and a raised play area with theater space underneath.

Grande Cares also will be giving Boys Town a check for each person in the company who volunteers to work 24 hours at the campus within the next three months.

"They're going to get $400 for each of the 22 employees who volunteer," Cano-Qualls said.

The effort means a lot to Williams, who lived on the campus from 2004 to 2005.

"What it means to me is just giving back," Williams said. "I learned a lot of life skills here, respecting one another, accepting feedback from one other. The job I do now relates back to what I learned here and it all makes sense."

Williams added the younger kids on the campus are really going to benefit from the new playground.

"The little kids don't have much to do out here," Williams said. "It's going to mean a big deal to them, more than being in front of the TV or playing video games. A lot of them want to be outside. I hope the kids will be happy with it."

By Marvin Pfeiffer, Staff Writer

Northwest Weekly, San Antonio Express-News

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