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Hastings Kiwanis aims to put musical playground at every elementary school

Hastings Kiwanis aims to put musical playground at every elementary school
Courtesy/ Hastings Kiwanis Club.

(Hastings, Nebraska) — The Hastings Kiwanis Club is launching a new fundraising initiative, with the goal of raising nearly $80,000 to install an outdoor musical playground at every elementary school in the Hastings area.

“Outdoor musical instruments are fun and engaging, and are a great way to encourage kids to be creative in new ways,” said Michael Howie, project lead for Kiwanis. “The ensembles we’ve selected with area music teachers are perfect for school playgrounds, and the simplicity of the instruments means they all sound good together, no matter the ability of those playing.”

Kiwanis is raising funds to support installing musical playground equipment at eight area elementary schools:

  • Alcott Elementary

  • Adams Central Elementary

  • Hawthorne Elementary

  • Lincoln Elementary

  • Longfellow Elementary

  • St. Michael’s Elementary

  • Watson Elementary

  • Zion Lutheran Elementary

“We’ve tackled big projects before, but it has been many years since Kiwanis has taken on a project of this size at the local level,” said Greg Schultz, 2019-20 Hastings Kiwanis president. “We’re excited to launch this project, and work to raise the funds to make it a reality.”

Rick Matticks, a band director and the music coordinator for Hastings Public Schools, said he is excited about the project because it will benefit all elementary students by giving them a place where they can practice and continue to learn what they are doing in their music classroom.

“This project also helps students continue the creative process and will inspire them to want to learn more,” Matticks said. “I also love the idea of placing these instruments in playgrounds as it gives access to everyone in the community throughout the year.”

While the cost of each playground will vary slightly based on the installation needed at each school, Kiwanis is anticipating it will cost $8,000-10,000 per playground.

To facilitate fundraising, Hastings Kiwanis has formed a fiscal partnership with the Hastings Community Foundation, a 501c3 organization, which will collect all donations for the club.

“We appreciate the Hastings Community Foundation for working with us and managing donations to our Musical Playground Project,” Schultz said. “This means donations may have tax benefits for those who give to the project, and donors can be assured their gift will go directly to the project.”

Those looking to support the project can send contributions to the Hastings Community Foundation. Checks must be made payable to the Hastings Community Foundation, with a note or memo line designating the check to the “Musical Playground.” Donors of all levels will be recognized, and donors of higher levels will have the opportunity to be recognized at all eight playgrounds. Additional information can be found online at

“This project will make musical play accessible to everyone in the Hastings area, as school playgrounds are open year round for play by children, parents and grandparents,” Howie said. “It’s an exciting community-wide project and Hastings may be the only community in the country with outdoor musical playground equipment at every elementary school.”

Hastings Kiwanis members will work with individual schools to install playgrounds as funds are raised, with the first group being installed during the summer of 2020 as part of a kick-off of the club’s 100th anniversary.

Members of Hastings Kiwanis Club, founded in 1920, complete dozens of service projects annually to help strengthen our community and serve children. Club members feed the hungry, host a kids bowling tournament, volunteer thousands of hours, distribute dictionaries to third graders, mentor the disadvantaged, support youth reading programs, take youth shopping for their families at Christmas and contribute financially to many local causes. For more, go to

Hastings Kiwanis is a member of Kiwanis International, a global organization comprised of members who are dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time.

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