On a Saturday in May 2001, my sister Roya Davoodnia, lost her battle to a rare cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. She was eighteen years old. Roya was an honors student, a leader, a most dependable friend, and a loving daughter and sister beyond compare. Even in her final days she was full of hope and thinking about helping others.
As any of her classmates will attest, Roya turned “Random Acts of Kindness” into a household phrase in her high school. If you didn’t know her by name, you knew her as the smiling girl who was always running around school overseeing the many “kindness” projects the Key Club (which she led) was implementing. The night before every Valentine’s Day, she would be up late making dozens of little care packages, ribbons and all, to distribute to everyone from the maintenance crew, to the bus drivers, to cafeteria staff, to the administration, and so on.
She was a preacher of positive thinking (a trait not often found among teenagers) and she practiced what she preached. Even on the days she was in the greatest pain, she would find something to be grateful for and record it in her gratitude journal. Roya had three passions in life: giving back to the community, protecting the environment, and a love for children (she planned to become a grade school teacher).
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Roya’s death, I am asking for your support to realize a community project to honor her legacy – the building of a playground – a place that promotes joyous memories, growth of children’s abilities and confidence, and enjoyment of the outdoors.
The Vision: Install a state-of-the-art playground where children of all ages are truly excited to go! The kind of playground that makes adults wish they were kids again or better yet, gets them in on the action, playing along with their children. One that would make Roya proud and worthy of bearing her name.
In the Town of North Hempstead, minutes off the highway and near the intersection of two major roads, lies a beautiful park called Whitney Pond Park. With easy accessibility, beautiful grounds and major amenities (community pool, basketball/squash courts, etc.), this park is a true jewel and the perfect place for a destination playground!
How will we make it happen? Through collaboration with the Town of North Hempstead and the generosity of the community, we can make this vision come true! The Davoodnia family will be donating a substantial sum but we will need additional support from the community to make it happen. The Town of North Hempstead will make the final decision on the specific equipment to be installed through a visioning and design process which will include opportunities for community input.
With the goal of $50,000, we will be able to install two to three installations such as a …
Grand multi-skill level climbing structure
Swing set with traditional and specialty swings
Ninja Warrior style obstacle course
Larger multi-activity play center
The more funds we raise, the more exciting a playground we can build for generations to enjoy! I hope you will choose to be a part of this great endeavor to benefit the community and honor Roya’s legacy.
NOTE: Until we are ready to present a check to the Town of North Hempstead, the Manhasset-Port Washington Chapter of Kiwanis International will serve as the receiver and protector of the funds. Kiwanis International is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to community service benefitting children. It serves as the parent organization for the high school Key Club for which Roya served as President.
For more information on Kiwanis International visit: https://www.kiwanis.org/
For more information on the Manhasset-Port Washington Kiwanis Club visit: Kiwanis Club Man-Port
To receive updates on the project join the Facebook group: A Playground for Roya
When donating, please mention if you knew Roya and how, and if not, how you found out about this project.
PHOTOS: Roya's high school senior photo, the current site after old playground was demolished, and examples of future playground installations. Example playground installations are for illustration purposes only. The specific installations will be selected by the Town of North Hempstead through a visioning and design process.
- Kathy Mac McAleer
- Anupama Tantri
- Shaina, Katie, Judy, Ellen, Jessica, Alpa Brito
- Susan Falkove
- LUCY ROMANO