Two UK graduates start organization to build playgrounds



By Tilly Finley

Students who come out to play Thursday night have the opportunity to help Lexington school children have a little fun.

The PLAE foundation will host its first fundraiser Thursday at DeVassa Bar & Grill. The PLAE foundation hopes to raise money to construct one of many safe playgrounds for elementary schools in low-income neighborhoods.

The PLAE foundation is in the process of becoming a non-profit organization and could not disclose the site of the first playground project. The foundation was created by two recent UK graduates, Tarik Nally and Dex Reese. Their idea for the organization began about six months ago.

“Overall research proves that clean, safe playgrounds that give kids a chance to enjoy themselves in a safe and healthy environment can work wonders on a child’s mind,” Nally said. “The simple idea of providing a swing-set can allow them to clear their head, help with their school work and reduce chances of depression in children. It was this simple thought that started our mission.”

Nally said in his experience at UK, students liked to be involved in new things, and many are just waiting for the right non-profit to interest them.

“We just want to provide (students) with these opportunities to help out,” he said.

Nally expects Thursday’s fundraiser to only raise about one-tenth of the funds that will be needed for the first playground project.  DeVassa, which is usually has no cover charge on Thursday nights, will be asking for a $5 donation at the door beginning at 10 p.m. All money collected will go directly to the PLAE foundation. DeVassa will also be accepting donations during the regular business hours for lunch and dinner beginning at 4 p.m.

Nally hopes to host a similar city-wide fundraiser in the near future to raise the remaining money needed for the playground project. Nally said he hopes the fundraiser to be one where they can expect larger check donations from people or businesses in Lexington rather than just cash at the door. The organization’s long-term goals include expanding the PLAE foundation across the U.S. and, one day, globally.

“Our goal is to get the money as quickly as possible so we can get these playgrounds up,” Nally said.

After a second fundraiser, Nally and Reese expect to have a completion date for the first project in mind, but their goal is that children will begin enjoying their new playground by the beginning of school this fall.

Students who come out this Thursday night to support the PLAE foundation can expect something in return as well. DJ Warren Peace and DJ Kym will be providing the music for the evening. The two are friends of Nally and “two of the best DJ’s in Lexington,” he said.

“This is the start to a new journey,” Nally said. “It’s a great feeling to give back. I am just excited to give others the opportunity to serve their community and help others.”