ELMSDALE: The dads of the kids at Tots Academy are always on double duty, filling the roles of both professional dads and the academy’s maintenance team.

Bernie Csunyoscka is one of these dads, his 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter have been attending the academy since they were both 18 months old.

He told The Weekly Press that the dads get together to take care of any maintenance the academy may need, over the years they’ve mended the fence, spread loads of pea stone, and even showed up to remove the door frames when the schools new refrigerator wouldn’t fit into the building. But this past weekend they had an extra special project on the go.

Tots Academy had been wanting to build a board walk leading out to a gazebo for the students to play on and to provide shelter, Director of Tots Academy, Trina Frame said. They had been using a temporary shelter that needed to be built and taken down each day to shade the children from the sun, but with the high cost of lumber, the project seemed infeasible, that is, until Frame put out a call to the parents, and the dads stepped in.

“You make a phone call and they come do anything, it’s a blessing to have so many people willing to help you at any time, we wouldn’t get half the things we need done around here done without them,” said Frame.

Csunyoscka decided to approach local lumber and supply companies about the project and the response was overwhelming.

”I didn’t even get all of my sentence asking about possible donations from Elmsdale Lumber and the Wilburs were like, ‘not a problem, how much do you need, what do you need, give me a list. If I can cut it, if I can make it, I’ll get it.’”

In total they donated thousands of dollars of lumber to the project by Elmsdale Lumber. Csunyoscka wants to make sure a special thank you is given to them, as well as Goodfellows, Elmsdale Rona, Shubie Home Hardware and Dartmouth Kents for their contribution of lumber, material, and services.

The dads worked hard over August 6 and 7 to almost complete the project, the only thing left to do is shingle the roof. “We’re volunteers ourselves, but we’re part of the community too so what those businesses did for our kids, we have to say thanks.”

“I like doing this stuff anyways, you know, working with my hands and a lot of the dads do too but it’s just when it came down to it, this thing was gonna cost some good money, but not a penny has been spent, everything has been donated,” said Csunyoscka.

“We just really wanted to say thank you to the companies that exist in the community we really appreciate that they donated their products because we never mind donating our time to our kids.”

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Nicole Gnazdowsky
Nicole graduated from Saint Francis Xavier University with a degree in political science in 2014 and University of King’s College with a journalism degree in 2016. She has been with The Weekly Press since May 2016. Nicole grew up in Rothesay N.B. and now lives in Halifax. She loves her dog, Madden, and travelling.