North Shore Playgrounds Donate Old Equipment To Armenia

CHICAGO (CBS) — Several old playgrounds from the northern suburbs were getting new life in part of the former Soviet Union.

When a North Shore school or park district is upgrading its playground equipment, Dr. Stephen Kashian frequently gets a call to check out the old set.

The Skokie internal medicine specialist founded Armenian Relief Mission, which runs a medical clinic and has reconstructed seven playgrounds in Armenia.

Kashian said, while installing one years ago, 200 to 300 children watched and waited for a chance to play on it.

“They were small kids; had never been on a swingset, so those of us that were there were showing them how to swing, how to use everything,” he said.

The Armenian Relief Mission has sent playground equipment by cargo ship to Armenai from Northbrook, Wilmette, and Skokie.

“The sets, new, are very expensive. So it’s nice; the best way to recycle,” he said.

Kashian has been visiting Armenia for years. He began installing the used playground sets after noticing the former Soviet republic didn’t have much in the way of play equipment for kids.

“Occasionally, I’d see a little chin-up bar, or something that they put up behind schools, but no extensive playgrounds,” he said.

Kashian said the playsets are so popular, he plans a trip to Armenia next year to make repairs. His grandparents and wife are from Armenia, where he also runs a medical clinic.

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