Local students, businesses donate to DG playground fundraiser

School working to build ‘a playground for every child’

DG Elementary third grader Breck Kaiser, left, gives a thumbs up on Aug. 29 while making a $105.30 donation to his school’s playground fund. Kaiser is pictured alongside Principal Derek Weber. PHOTO BY TABBY KAISER

DYSART – Contributions to Dysart-Geneseo Elementary School’s playground fundraiser continue to build with several recent donations coming from not just local businesses, but from students themselves including third-grader Breck Kaiser.

Kaiser saved his allowance over summer break in order to donate to the school’s fund to build a new, inclusive playground, raising an impressive $105.30 in the process.

“He took out his grandma’s trash every week and helped her with various chores [like] cleaning, vacuuming, and emptying the dishwasher,” Kaiser’s mom Tabby Kaiser told the Telegraph last week.

“Breck just came up with donating money on his own. He originally was thinking [about donating] to the Epilepsy Foundation since we usually try and raise money for that every year, but then decided to do the playground.”

Several other DG students including Kennedy Youngblut have also donated to the school’s fundraiser since it kicked off at the end of last school year.

The lower elementary playground at DG Elementary pictured on May 31. The school is currently fundraising to replace the 35-year-old equipment. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

In the most recent financial update, Principal Derek Weber told the Telegraph on Monday the fund had netted $26,675 of its $200,000 goal which includes not only donations from Breck Kaiser and his fellow students, but also several large donations from area businesses and organizations including Harper’s Public House, Northeast Security Bank employees, Dysart Development Corporation (DDC), Farmers Cooperative Telephone Company, and Tama County Economic Development.

On Monday, Aug. 21, Harper’s held a DG Open House supper fundraiser, donating all tips received that night plus 20% of its sales – as well as 100% of the sales from $5 walking tacos – to the playground fund. In just four hours, the downtown restaurant owned by Jenna and Chad Scott was able to donate $3,500 to the effort to build a more inclusive playground.

A couple of weeks later on Sept. 1, employees from the Northeast Security Bank’s Dysart location presented a check for $600 to Weber for the playground fund as part of their monthly ‘Casual for a Cause’ fundraiser.

In addition, Farmers Coop recently donated $5,000 to the fund, while both DDC and Tama Co. Economic Development each donated $500.

Why a new playground?


DG’s playground was built in 1988 and, according to Principal Weber, best practice is to replace playground equipment every 25 years which puts DG’s play space about a decade past due for an upgrade.

But one of the most pressing reasons Weber cites for the playground upgrade has to do with DG’s students – the elementary school currently has four students enrolled “with significant physical disabilities who aren’t able to play on [the] playground because they aren’t able to properly access it,” Weber wrote on Facebook recently.

Upcoming fundraiser, how to donate

While donations to the playground fund directly from individuals, organizations, and businesses continue to be welcomed and needed, DG Elementary PTO has invited the community to join in on a group fundraising effort at Dysart City Park set for Sunday, Sept. 24 — the school’s annual Fall Festival.

All proceeds from this year’s festival are earmarked for the playground fund and there’s seemingly something for everyone including carnival games, bingo, dunk tank, silent auction, chicken chip bingo, a chili cook off, pumpkin dessert contest, cake walk, an all-ages pickleball tournament, and more. Questions regarding the pickleball tournament including how to register can be directed to Reta Callahan at rkc@fctc.coop.

For more information on the Fall Festival, refer to the event’s Facebook page, DG Elementary PTO Community Fall Festival.

Those with further questions about DG’s playground project are asked to contact Principal Derek Weber by calling 319-476-7110, or emailing d_weber@union.k12.ia.us.

Donations to DG’s playground fund can be made by check either through the mail or in person at the school located at 411 Lincoln Street, Dysart, or at Northeast Security Bank, 402 Main Street in downtown Dysart.

The district also has accounts set up at Tama-Benton Cooperative in Dysart, Buckingham Cooperative in Buckingham, and Heartland Co-op in Traer for anyone who wishes to donate a portion of grain to the fundraising project.