Opening a Playground, Remembering a Friend

Opening a Playground, Remembering a Friend
Posted on 11/07/2017
Pictured, Students standing next to the playground sign reading "Jared Bender Memorial Playground"

PHOENIXVILLE, PA ---On Friday, November 3, 2017, students, staff, board of trustee members and other members of the Renaissance Academy (RA) community surrounded their new “kingdom” inspired playground to commemorate the opening of the site and to remember a fallen friend.

Mrs. Gina Guarino Buli, RA Chief Operating Office spoke at the ceremony about the long road bringing this lovely playground to completion and all the supporters how assisted along the way. She then officially dedicated the site to the memory of our student, Jared Bender, who (as a 5th grader at RA) lost his battle with cancer in 2013. Students and staff members remember Jared as a special boy who touched so many lives. His compassion and willingness to help others are qualities that his classmates will never forget.

One of Jared’s classmates attending the ceremony was Ariana Prince. Ariana, who is now in 11th grade, said that being present at the dedication was so important to her because honoring a friend like Jared is something about which she feels deeply in her heart. “Looking around the playground, I can see Jared here, knowing that this is how he would want to be remembered.”

Also at the event were honored guests, Jared’s parents, Matthew and Rene Bender, as well as, younger brother, Seth Bender who is now in 4th grade at RA. Mrs. Bender said, “We are grateful for Jared’s classmates who wished for him to remain a part of their school by memorializing a fun and lively place for all to enjoy, as well as, for the teachers and administration who brought the students’ wish to fruition. For everyone who reads the plaque, plays or observes the children at play on the playground, we hope you smile as much as Jared made those who knew him smile.”

The event was covered by Action News, ABC Channel 6 with anchorman, Jim Gardner reporting the story on the 11:00 pm news broadcast.