Playground rebirth: Brooklyn Park project to deliver smiles overseas
A Brooklyn Park playground was taken down Tuesday, but it will soon bring joy to children in another country.

Volunteers worked in the hot sun to dismantle the equipment. They belong to Kids Around the World, a nonprofit that brings secondhand playground equipment to kids in third-world countries like Ghana and Guatemala.

"We are able to just bring a part of joy to these kids that have nothing to really look forward to," said Paul Bierhaus, a volunteer who lives in Plymouth. "So many of our children who we build playgrounds for have never seen a playground. I mean literally have never played on a playground."

Bierhaus, a retired police officer, serves on the board of Kids Around the World, which is headquartered in Illinois but has been active in Minnesota for many years. He has been working with the organization for many years and has volunteered to travel to other countries like Cuba, North Korea and Israel, to set up playground equipment.

Volunteers were organized through Wayzata Free Church in Plymouth, where Bierhaus is a member.

Most of the volunteers are retired men, like Al Borofka, who had a dairy business delivering milk to homes. The volunteers are not paid and taking down the heavy equipment is tough work, but they do get treated to a lunch after their work is done.

"We get a good meal – Paul treats us good at Perkins," Borofka said.

While the group is not sure where the Brookdale playground is going, they say it will be greatly appreciated by the kids who use it.

"If you could see their beaming faces as they played on the playground for the first time, it makes all this stuff worthwhile," said Bierhaus.

Carissa Wyant, 12 News



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