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Snoqualmie girl brings joy to Tanner Jeans Field
All she wanted to do was bring a little joy into a community park, but by the end of her project, 11 year-old Lindsey Brown of Snoqualmie had raised $1,100, made a formal presentation to the Snoqualmie Parks Department, and brought dozens of people together for a celebration of community on a cold, dark night at Tanner Jeans Field.
"This park is used all year," says Lindsey, explaining how her lighting project got started. "Kids like to play on it, and there are soccer practices and other sports… but in the winter it's cold and dark, and there's not much going on here, so whenever we drive past the park, there's no joy in the park. So I thought it would be a good idea to make people happier and remember Tanner Jeans by lighting up the park."
She talked with Laurie Gibbs, president of the Tanner Jeans Memorial Foundation, who helped her coordinate with the parks department and get the project started.
"I don't think this would have happened without Mrs. Gibbs," she said.
Gibbs spoke at the lighting, saying "This young lady all by herself conceived this project, fund-raised for it, and basically got the volunteers out here with the help of her mom and dad and her sister Audrey. I just think it's a phenomenal feat."
With Audrey's help, Lindsey set up a Facebook page to take donations to buy lights for the park. She distributed collection jars throughout the community, and got help from her friends at school. Within a week, donations exceeded $1,000, enough to buy solar-powered lights for the park shelter, and low-energy LED lights for the trees and the baseball field backstop. Volunteers installed them over the weekend.
Tuesday night, Dec. 6, as flashlight-carrying children still romped on the play structure in the dark, friends and family again came together for the lighting. Finaghty's Irish Pub donated the hot cider and cocoa for the evening, and the Jeans family attended as Lindsey, her mom, and the community lit up the night.
The lights will be on every night from 5 to 10 p.m. through holidays. Lindsey plans to take them down in January, and hopes to make the lighting an annual event.