Family Express Corporation, a Region business operated by two generations of the Olympidis family, has pledged 250-thousand dollars toward the rebuild of a 20-year-old playground and park in Valparaiso. ValPLAYso on the south side of Glendale Boulevard was designed and built by the Valparaiso community in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Valparaiso Department of Parks and Recreation. The Valparaiso Parks Foundation says the October 1994 build involved over 26-hundred community volunteers. The modern-day revamp is known as ValPLAYso – The Next Generation, and the build is scheduled this October.
[Photo/provided: ValPLAYso - The next Generation Children's Committee members and Committee Chairs Monica Decker (standing on left) and Kevin Kosek (standing on right) gathered at the Family Express Corporation headquarters to thank them and the Olympidis Family for their "Champion" level gift of the community-build project. Standing in center is Alex Olympidis, Director of Operations for Family Express Corporation. They have pledged $250,000 to aid in the rebuild of the 20 year old playground and park.]
“Our family was touched by the experience of participating in the building of the original ValPLAYso some 20 years ago,” says Alex Olympidis, Director of Operations for the company. “ValPLAYso has evolved into a shining ornament in a wonderful park system, but that’s not all. The experience of a community coming together to build this park has created a magical culture of belonging, and a reflection of its stewardship for future generations.”
Olympidis continued by saying, “We believe that parks are a metaphoric ‘canary in a coalmine’ for any community, regardless of its size. Sadly, when a community neglects its parks, it signals the neglecting of itself. Conversely, when a community invests in its parks, almost without exception, that investment is a reflection of its vibrancy, its quality of life, and most importantly….its future! We can’t think of a single thriving community having an un-vibrant park system, and vice versa.”
Olympidis concluded and said, “Supporting ValPLAYso - The Next Generation is an expression of our family’s gratitude towards our community, and a celebration of its attitude and commitment towards continued improvement.”
General Co-chairs of the ValPLAYso project, Kaye Frataccia and Rob Thorgren, are excited about the generous partnership with Family Express. “It shows how dedicated the community is to maintaining high standards both as businesses and as families,” says Frataccia. “Family Express has gotten the ball rolling. Now we need to finish even stronger.”
Thorgren likes the fact that the Olympidis family “gets it,” that ValPLAYso and Valparaiso symbolize where we work and play. “If we want to sustain what we have in the city, we need to give our all and share in the belief of the necessity to have a quality community. It starts with each of us and extends to the families, businesses and organizations that call Valpo home.”
Karen Vogelsang, chair of the Fundraising Committee also expressed her thanks. “From TJ Elementary students raising $550 in their school to this leadership gift from Family Express, and everything in between, the ValPLAYso experience celebrates the volunteerism and donations from all.”
Anyone wishing to support ValPLAYso – the Next Generation through volunteering or donating is asked to call 219-462-5144, or visit www.valplayso.com.