Chapin Community Combines Resources to Honor Memory of Six Year-Old

Several organizations in the Chapin community joinededforces on Saturday, October 26 to build a playground dedicated to the memory of Omara Aiken, a six year-old Chapin resident who tragically died in 2010.

The Greater Chapin Community Endowment, Rotary Club of Chapin Sunrise, The Justin Pepper Foundation and Chapin Women’s Club provided funding for the project, while Home Depot provided installation supplies and labor.

“This project demonstrates the strength of community collaboration,” said JoAnn Turnquist, president & CEO of Central Carolina Community Foundation. “We hope this example inspires other organizations to join forces to make a difference in Chapin.”

Volunteers constructed the playground on Saturday, October 26 and held a dedication ceremony on Sunday, October 27. The playground is located at The Hub at 670 Meadowlark Road in Little Mountain on property provided by the Community Union Association.

Omara’s death, ruled accidental after she fell from the porch of a Chapin home entangled in a jump rope, inspired Chapin High School Principal, Dr. Akil Ross, and the parent of one of Omara’s classmates, Dr. Britt Holstein, to seek local funding to build the playground.

“We are hoping to turn a tragedy into a triumph for our community,” said Holstein. “By bringing together the resources of several local charities, we hope to provide a safe place for children in our community to play for many years to come.”

Members of Omara’s kindergarten class, now third graders, were invited to attend the dedication ceremony and were the first to enjoy the new playground.

Click here to watch a news story highlighting this effort.