This coming Sunday, Oct. 20, marks a year since the passing of Perrin Stanley, son of Mr. Jared Stanley, faculty member in the department of design, and his wife, Heather. Perrin was 14 months old when he caught a virus and died later that week. In memory of Perrin, the Stanley family and their church, Cornerstone Baptist Church, are building a family park on the church’s property — Perrin’s Park. The park will honor Perrin’s memory.
When Perrin died, the Stanley family received many monetary gifts from people who wanted to minister to them. “Honestly, we had never thought about [the money] before,” Stanley said. “But after we prayed about it, God gave us the idea of a small outdoor park for our church.”
After discussing the idea with their pastor and deacons at Cornerstone Baptist Church, the Stanleys wanted to move forward with the park, but decided to make it bigger to reach all of the youth in the church. The end result will be a three-tiered park that is accessible from the church’s nursery and visible from the road. Perrin’s Park will consist of a playground for infants and toddlers, a playground for 5- to 12-year-old children, and a fire pit area for teens and young adults.
Before Perrin died, every Thursday was park day. “I got to see firsthand the impact that a park could have on a family and on a community,” Stanley said.
Stanley and his wife originally received nearly $18,000 within the first few weeks after Perrin’s passing. However, as they continued to research, they realized that most parks cost at least $200,000. After a lot of research, Stanley was able to bring the budget down to $80,000. “Even when I’m not actively thinking about where we are getting the money from,” Stanley said, “God has provided and so many people have stepped up to help us out.”
The next steps for the park will be to lay down rubber mulch, construct the walkways and plant flowers. “God has been providing everything,” Stanley said. “The other day, someone donated all of the mats we needed to put underneath the mulch. It just reminds me that this park is being built for God’s glory because He is the one providing for it.”
“The park will give us a way to minister to our church families and reach out to our community,” he said. “The park isn’t just for Perrin. This is about using our experience to minister to others. God is sovereign, and His plan is perfect.
“God has taught us that nothing is ours and that everything He gives us is to be used for His glory — even our children,” he said.
The Stanleys wanted to ensure that the park will provide resources for people and families who are grieving: testimonials, verses of encouragement and recommended books that will be offered by the church.
“Perrin’s Park will give us a great opportunity to minister to others who are struggling,” Stanley said.
“When people saw Perrin, they didn’t believe he was just over a year old,” he said. “He was already running. He was very determined — a go-getter. Perrin had a wonderful personality. He was very smart and had developed early.
“He absolutely loved trains,” Stanley said. “He often watched Thomas the Train, and when he saw anything that reminded him of a train, he would say ‘Ta!’ followed by a ‘choo-choo.’ Perrin also loved the outdoors and didn’t like seeing the front door shut. He would press himself against the sliding glass door in our kitchen just to see the yard,” Stanley said.
Currently, the Stanley family has received $50,000 of the $80,000 needed to complete the park. Perrin’s Park is estimated to open in the spring of 2014. If you would like to give to the Perrin’s Park project, go to www.perrinspark.org. For more information about the project, sign up for a newsletter or like the Facebook page, “Perrin’s Park.”