Mourners in Montgomery County are channeling their sadness into action - they hope to raise money and donations of materials to create a playground in memory of Skyler Kauffman.
The nine-year-old Souderton girl went out to play in her apartment complex Monday, May 9, but never came home for dinner. Police found her body and have charged neighbor James Lee Troutman, 24, in her murder.
The crime has shocked the Souderton-area community, a close one. "Nothing like this has ever happened here before," said one mourner at Skyler's May 16 funeral.
On Saturday, May 14, community members met informally to discuss how they could bring about some good out of something so terrible. Inspired by the little girl's dazzling smile and irrepressible spirit, they centered on a playground.
Project Safe Playground, as it is to be called, will be a living memorial to Skyler, who loved to swing on the swings at school playgrounds, a pastor said at her funeral. She was also an avid swimmer and dancer.
Children's ideas will be incorporated into the project, and community members are hoping to solicit donations of materials from local merchants.