Military children at one South Carolina base-housing community received an upgraded playground thanks to the efforts of a local 10 year old.
“Mrs. Mangas? We wanted you to know that we got your daughter’s letter and talked it over. We’ve decided to install the swings she asked for, and we want to have a ceremony so she can cut the ribbon for them,” the caller on the other end said to Ashleigh Mangas, a Marine Corps wife currently stationed at Parris Island, South Carolina.
Mangas, who is the mother of an elementary-aged student named Savannah, said she had no idea what the base housing official was talking about. Soon, Mangas learned of the letter her daughter wrote.
“Hi, This is Savannah Mangas and I have a suggestion for our Wake Village park,” Savannah wrote in pink ink. “My idea for our park is to add swings for both babies and kids. If you do not have the money for it I could try and help raise money for it. I also know this might take a couple of weeks or even months but I will try my best to commit to this.”
Savannah, a fourth grader, said she first noticed the park was lacking something last summer.
“Me and my friends were walking, and I was like, ‘The playground needs something to spice it up,’” she said. “A lot of kids at my school like swings, so I thought maybe they’d like it in the neighborhood, too.”
Savannah said she got to work that day, writing a letter to base housing and hand-delivering it to the nearby office without her parents’ knowledge. She did her best to be persuasive, telling housing authorities in the note, “If you do not I understand because it would probably take a lot of time and money but I would like you to think about it. I really think this could make the park more fun.”
Lendlease, the housing owner, agreed.
“Lendlease is committed to listening to its residents, no matter their age, to improve its communities,” wrote a Lendlease representative in an email.
In November 2022, Savannah proudly cut the ribbon to new swing sets at the park she can see from her backyard. There are swings for infants and people with disabilities, as well as for older children like herself.
“I am super proud,” Mangas said. “Savannah thought of everything and decided it was worth it to take a shot at something she wanted.”
Her daughter, meanwhile, is just enjoying her time swinging through the South Carolina sunshine.
“I feel really grateful and so happy that I got this moment, that this all went through the way I hoped,” Savannah said.Read comments