Eric Spiller's Outdoor Classroom

$16,992 of $195,000 goal

Raised by 115 people in 3 months
Created November 18, 2018
When Holly and I moved into the neighborhood 20 years ago into Jim and Jane Spiller’s house, we loved the fact that we had a home that had been well worn by three active boys.  Even more, we loved the fact that the Spiller family was staying in the neighborhood building a new house right next to ours.  The boys grew up, we had three kids of our own, Jim and Jane were looking to downsize, we were looking for more space, so we swapped houses (true!) and the great gift of that first move kept on giving- we got to remain next door neighbors!  Their youngest son, Eric, was a constant presence in our lives for those two decades.  He was our children’s favorite playmate, hands down.  He seemed to have boundless energy that kept them outside for hours on end and endless patience, fielding all of their questions and never seeming to tire of their demands for his time.  I loved seeing our girls come home covered in dirt having spent the afternoon with Eric digging up worms or looking for snakes.  Or our son running from our yard to the Spiller’s playing tag with Eric on what became one boundary-less playing field.  Friends would come over for play dates and ask if they could go over and get Eric to play.  And Eric was a constantly friendly and familiar presence for all of the children in the neighborhood.  His love of animals and nature is one of the many gifts he gave to our kids. Eric’s sudden and tragic death on October 11th at the age of 28 hit our home with painful force.  Trying to make sense of it has been impossible for me.  Trying to explain it to our kids has been even harder.  We want to remember Eric for all of his wonderful qualities and find a way to celebrate his life in a manner that others can share in.  So we sat as a family and thought about ways we might be able to do that.  Animals and nature kept rising to the surface of the conversation.  We decided to reach out to the Mill River Collaborative to see if there might be something in the park’s plan that struck us and we were all captivated by one of the ideas that came back from the Park’s director: Part of the park plan is to build an outdoor classroom.  This will be literally nature’s outdoor classroom where children from Stamford's schools will learn about and observe nature, including fish and wildlife, first hand. We don’t have any fancy visuals yet but we do have a plan which I’ve attached. This part of the park’s plan is currently unfunded.  It will take $200,000 to build it.  It’s a lot of money.  But we all can’t stop thinking about the possibility of seeing kids learning about animals and nature in Eric Spiller’s Outdoor Classroom.  It seems like the perfect way to memorialize Eric and give us all a place to go to remember him: outside, in the middle of his hometown, giving children a place to learn and explore.  I think we can make this happen and I’d certainly like to try.  Our family is putting up the first $5,000 so we only have $195,000 left to go!  Give what you can, spread the word, and let’s see what we can all come together and do for Eric. Thank you, Noah Lapine  More information about Mill River Collaborative Inc. (Mill River Park Collaborative):  http://www.millriverpark.org/
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Today we got the 10% to goal mark at $20,000 in total contributions thanks to all of you. Still a long way to go but an important milestone. A lovely front page article ran in the local paper:
This is online now and will be in tomorrow advocate.
https://www.stamfordadvocate.com/local/article/Outdoor-classroom-to-honor-Stamford-animal-lover-13503848.php
Please post this to your Facebook or other social media pages with the link to the go fund me page to spread the word. Thank you for all of your support and heart felt generosity.
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There is a beautiful letter about Eric written by Jim and Jane Spiller now up on the Mill River Collaborative web page: http://www.millriverpark.org/eric-spiller-outdoor-classroom
I encourage everyone to read it.
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Thank you to everyone that has given so far, it's been amazing to see the outpouring of support. It's been two weeks since we began and we're 5% to our goal! Please spread the word and get your friends and family involved. Thank you again.
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$16,992 of $195,000 goal

Raised by 115 people in 3 months
Created November 18, 2018
Funds raised will benefit:
Mill River Collaborative Inc. (Mill River Park Collaborative)
Certified Charity
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Stamford, CT
EIN: 061507648
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