Moody County’s largest 4-H club is closer to making it possible to install a handicapped-accessible door at the William J. Janklow Community Center.
Sioux Valley Energy approved $1,500 of the $3,000 grant request the club members applied for recently. In addition, the club has been selling homemade suckers to help pay for the project.
Additional sucker sales will take place Feb. 4-5 at Colman-Egan basketball games and Feb. 13 at a Flandreau double header.
“We make over 800,” said Jillian Knippling, a 12-year-old member. Typically, the club sells out.
The Happy Youngsters 4-H Club first brought the idea for the door to the Flandreau City Council nearly a year ago. The club, with 68 members, has actively worked to help pay toward other community projects, including the Veterans’ Memorial in Colman and the purchase of playground equipment at the Flandreau school.
Club members decided the need for accessible doors was worth their efforts.
“At the community center, we have lots of activities. Lots of diverse people use the doors there,” said Abby Lewis, 13. A door that will open with the push of a button would be easier for many people, she said.
Anyone can benefit from an accessible door, Knippling said. When people have their hands full entering or exiting the building, the door could make a difference, for example.
Her brother, Liam Knippling, 13, said the building is used for government events, such as voting, and many other official and entertainment reasons, including 4-H shows and competitions. “Since we have a higher rate of disabilities (in Moody County), I feel it’s really important that everyone is able to access things,” he said.
The club will continue fundraising until it can pay for the door, which the city council has indicated it would accept.
Anyone who is interested can donate to the project by contacting one of the club’s leaders – Erica Knippling, Jessica Lewis or Andrea Hemmer or by dropping off donations at the Moody County Extension office.
Members said that working on community projects is a good learning experience and promotes their club. People see how the Happy Youngsters help and want to join the club, Liam Knippling said.
“We get to work with our friends, and we get to be working and helping other people together,” Lewis said.
Jillian Knippling said it’s also fun. “It’s really fun because we can make memories along the way,” she said. Looking back, members are able to say, “Oh, we helped do that, and that’s really fun.”