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Small Park Gets Big Gift

The people gathered at Peppermint Park, the little neighborhood park at Brownlea Drive and 14th Street in Greenville, demonstrated Tuesday that big things — like teachable moments — can come in small packages.

Representatives of the United Way of Pitt County, pharmaceutical manufacturing company Mayne Pharma, the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce and the Greenville Recreation and Parks Department met with community members to cut the ribbon on a Born Learning Trail at the park, intended to engage children and adults for a positive effect on early childhood development. 

United Way’s two main community-level goals are to have all children enter kindergarten ready to learn and to see all children graduate from high school, said Melissa Adamson, community impact and communications director for the United Way of Pitt County.

“Right now, about 56 percent of Pitt County children are not entering kindergarten prepared to learn,” Adamson said. “About 85 percent of brain development happens by age 3. These Born Learning Trails send a message to the community that we care about young children and families.”

The Born Learning Trail was created in 2005 by United Way Worldwide to promote physical activity and early learning opportunities for young children. Developed by early childhood experts, the Born Learning Trail consists of 10 interactive outdoor play stations. Each station provides a sign that encourages parents or caregivers and their children to get active, learn and bond.

Born Learning Trails use everyday opportunities as teachable moments and turn any outdoor environment into a fun physical activity that also promotes early learning.

The Born Leaning Trail at Peppermint Park is one of 11 in various stages of development throughout Pitt County. Mayne Pharma donated $2,500 for the installation of this trail and $6,290 for supplemental park enhancements.

Andy Herdman, vice president of human resources at Mayne Pharma, said the project is the company’s inaugural United Way campaign project, giving its more than 400 employees an opportunity to do something together to thank the community.

“In many ways, this is about workforce development,” Herdman said. “We understand that our future and vitality depends on our investment in people at a young age. This special project allows us and our employees to add our name to the list of industry leaders that have contributed to a standing legacy and an ongoing renaissance that is occurring in this community through investment in our children.”