SCRANTON -- On their first official day of summer vacation on Wednesday, a few hundred kids from south Scranton will have a new place to play.
The bright sunshine made the yellows and greens pop, making the new playground at Valley View Terrace apartments all the more inviting, the several hours it took to put together, sometimes seeming as long as the several hours before summer vacation.
"I just burst into tears with absolute joy! I can't believe it. I knew they were beginning at 7 this morning," said Sister Ann Walsh of Friends of the Poor.
Volunteers from AmeriHealth offices in Philadelphia and Harrisburg planned to be done by 3 p.m. They put these playgrounds up across the country each summer.
This year, officials from the Friends of the Poor in Scranton asked AmeriHealth to come to Valley View Terrace in south side.
Parents there watched the process with just as much excitement as their kids. They say this is a big improvement from the park it replaces.
"It was beat down, no swings, there was garbage everywhere. It wasn't a place I enjoyed taking them to," said Marie Pavolovicz.
Valley View Terrace apartments is home to a few hundred kids under the age of 10, kids who, conveniently, start their summer vacation this week.
"We saw children leaving for school this morning, and they were, like, looking. They are so anxious to get on, and we are anxious for them, too," said Maria Pajil Battle of AmeriHealth Caritas Partnership.
The playground pieces come ready to be assembled quickly in under five hours. Then volunteers moved about three tons of mulch around the new park.
It all comes together in less than a day, 24 hours that have residents at Valley View looking forward to this summer and summers to come.
"It will help him grow up. It will help him experience new things, playing with other kids, interaction, things like that. I'm just glad that they decided to build it," said Yolanda Walsh.