Active Student Initiative Benefits Students in Springdale School District – Springdale, AR
Following a review of each of their playgrounds throughout the district, Springdale realized that their students needed new play structures at over half of the elementary schools. Budgets continue to be tight, so school leadership partnered with Play 4 ALL to help launch a community campaign that would raise funds for multiple playgrounds starting with the ones with the greatest need. To date, eight elementary schools have brand new play spaces thanks to philanthropic support with more in the works. Play 4 ALL’s Active Students Initiative helps schools raise community awareness on childhood obesity and the need for at least 60 minutes of rigorous play a day, and the funding needed so more students can play during and after school. Students who play more, have better attention spans, better behavior in the classroom and they become better learners.
Don Earl Early Childhood Center Enjoys the Therapeutic Benefits of Swinging – Arnold, MO
Don Earl Early Childhood Center in Arnold, Missouri recognized the therapeutic benefits of swings, particularly GameTime’s highly acclaimed “Expression Swing™.” Instead of using engineered wood fiber safety surfacing, the staff knew that poured-in-place rubber safety surfacing ensured greater accessibility and inclusion. Partnering with Play 4 ALL, the ECC learned about a Missouri state-wide funding source that funded rubberized surfacing made from Missouri Scrap Tire. Play 4 ALL helped to secure the funding necessary to add both the swings and surfacing so ALL children can play…and swing.
The Universal Language of PLAY Demonstrated at Weller Elementary – Springfield, MO
A very dedicated principal and her staff knew that their play equipment had run its lifecycle. Unfortunately, the school district did not have the funds earmarked for replacement. Together with Play 4 ALL, community leaders and Weller Elementary staff “movers and shakers,” were able to raise 100% of the funds to create a destination play space for during and after school. Gifts of all ranges were dedicated including a fellow fourth grade student who donated her entire life’s savings which was over a $100. Weller Elementary is the home of children from all over the world, many learning English as their second language. This play space is a testament to the universal language of PLAY!
Play Spaces Transform Communities – Baltimore, MD
On August 22, 2019, a team of Baltimore based community groups banded together to transform an open space located in the Franklin Square Community located at 1824 W. Saratoga Street, into a community gathering place, a place for healing, a place for play. Together Parks and People Foundation, Bon Secours, Celebration Church and several local community members completed the “Healing Communities Through Play™” playground build in only eight hours. The goal was to transform an open lot where once stood abandoned row houses; a neighbor hood dumping ground into a neighborhood park.
“This will become truly the center of the community here, something positive for people to focus their efforts around,” said Steve Preston, of the Parks and People Foundation.
The Kirby Lane Park playground, gardens and community space will serve as the capstone of an endeavor that has been a labor of love, driven by the will to fulfill a community’s potential. More importantly, the playground is an instrument that demonstrates how multiple groups can work together for the greater good. Play is critical for all children to aid in their development, foster friendships and teach lasting life skills. To read more about this Healing Communities project click here.
Heartland Regional Medical Center Inclusive Playground – Marion, IL
It did not take long for the Marion community to wrap their arms around this signature project. Naming sponsor Heartland Regional Medical Center paved the way for a quick and smooth play campaign. A well-connected, dedicated community leader and Marion Parks District staff led the charge to engage groups like NRPA/Disney, Rotary, Ameren Illinois, Watermark Auto Group and more. In addition to creating a destination play space using the 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design ™ , we also included a shaded fitness zone so youth, parents and caregivers can get in some exercise time while the kids play.
St. Cloud’s Commons Inclusive Playground – Huntington, WV
If there was ever a project that illustrates the story – “The Little Engine that Could” it is this one. The Greater Huntington Parks and Recreation showed their community and the surrounding area that with dedication, creativity and sometimes not taking “no” for an answer, funds can be raised to benefit all children. Fueled by inspiration, both the Parks Director and Development and Recreation Manager led the charge to engage all sectors of their community including countless hours writing grants and making phone calls. Occasionally that meant camping out on an inflatable duck for over 24 hours and dressing up like a banana waging a “Let’s Go Bananas Fundraiser”. This inclusive design was also recognized as a Playcore/GameTime National Demonstration Site for Inclusion and Play On. (want to add more?) As Victor Hugo said centuries ago, “nothing can stop an idea whose time has come.”
Our Town, St. Charles – Building Community Begins with Play
St. Charles City School District wanted something extraordinary as they designed their brand new Early Childhood facility. And that is exactly what the community got.
The outdoor play space is equipped with unique inclusive features including Sensory Wave Climber with adaptive switch technology, GameTime Expression Swings®, sensory tables, musical instruments, and even an outdoor classroom. The indoor play space was unique for Cunningham Recreation and Play 4 ALL. A custom miniature version of the Historic Main Street located just a few miles away, Our Town, St. Charles was designed to provide enriching gross motor and dramatic play activities while teaching preschoolers the importance of a community. Children learn and “operate” the town equipped with a firehouse, market, bank, bistro, park, trolley and even a Town Hall that has a voting booth teaching children about the importance of civic responsibility.
Play 4 ALL designed the community engagement program that raised 85% of the entire cost for the space and the accessories.
Gordon Moore Park Inclusive Playground – Alton, IL
Alton Park and Recreation Executive Director, Michael Haynes, was not about to let any hurdle get in his way of bringing the community of Alton its first universally accessible playground. He traveled to Springfield, IL during November 2016 when Play Core, GameTime and Play 4 ALL trained the Illinois Department of Natural Resources on the 7 Principles of Inclusive Design. Quickly after learning the critical difference between what ADA law mandates and the play environments designed for the “whole child” regardless of ability, Michael and his team quickly launched a play campaign.
With help from Cunningham Recreation’s social impact division, Play 4 ALL, the Inclusive Play committee positioned a campaign that attracted large corporate responsibility dollars from Phillips 66 and other community donors. Additionally, Illinois Parks and Recreation Association granted the project another $125,000 under the GameTime/Playcore Active Play Funding Initiative. Less than a year later, all the funds were raised to build a nature themed, universally designed play space for every child and family. Gordon Moore Park now has a playground 4 ALL ages and abilities where everyone can play together.
“Play 4 ALL gave us direction towards all possible avenues of fundraising in our effort to provide inclusive play to the Alton area. We’ve got nothing but positive feedback and support from the community in our inclusive play venture. Every day I drive by and see the playground full of a wide array of people it reminds me of how important the project was for everyone in the community,” said Michael Haynes, executive director of the Alton Park and Recreation Department.
Danforth Elementary Healing Communities Through Play™ Project – St. Louis, MO
Sheri Schjolberg, Principal of Danforth Elementary knew that the school’s playground was falling into major disrepair. She also knew that the Riverview Gardens school district did not have funds in their budget for a new playground. A committed volunteer saw the local news story covering Play 4 ALL’s work in Ferguson, Missouri and their new Healing Communities Through Play™ initiative. One phone call and all the pieces fell into place. St. Louis City and County police officers stepped up immediately and funds began to come in slated for a new playground. Pleasantly surprised, one St. Louis family gifted $75,000.
The Community Build happened on July 21st, 2017, one of the hottest days of summer. With temps reaching over 104 degrees, over 140 volunteers flooded in to make sure a new playground welcomed the Danforth students back to school the following month. Helping do the heavy lifting, River View Gardens Varsity and Jr. Varsity football team joined the officers and community volunteers. “It’s a day that I will never forget” said an officer that was recently wounded while on duty. “There is so much good in the world”.
Bentley’s All Inclusive Playground Opens in Keokuk, IA
Bentley’s Playground Phase 2 officially opened Saturday, June 24, 2017. The universally accessible play area at Keokuk’s Tolmie Park was dedicated before a crowd of volunteers, donors and local families. Bentley and several other children lined up with their parents for a ribbon cutting ceremony during the program. A moment that was eagerly anticipated for the past 2 years as the Keokuk community pulled together to conduct grass-roots fundraisers.
Bentley’s Playground is named in honor of Bentley McGhghy, who has cerebral palsy. The driving force behind the project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, K-Play which was formed to raise philanthropic funds for the $300,000 project. They hope to continue their mission and develop more inclusive play spaces in the future.
Phase 1 was completed in June 2015 and included an inclusive swing area and music play station. Phase 2 was a much larger undertaking, and features two parallel zip lines, an adaptive merry-go-round, a saucer swing, a multi-level play structure and additional music and sound play components all manufactured by GameTime, a leader in the Inclusive Play movement.
The play equipment was completed by a volunteer playground build in May. McGhghy named Keokuk High School student Tyler Stephenson as the K-Play Volunteer of the Year. Stephenson, who was unable to attend the dedication program, worked from 9 a.m. until everyone else had left all four days of the community build event.
The International Order of Odd Fellows Grand Lodge of Iowa was the largest donor to the project, with contributions totaling over $100,000. Hy-Vee was also a major fundraiser as well and agreed to host a “round-up” Cause Marketing campaign at their local Keokuk location. K-Play board worked very closely with Play 4 ALL Community Resource Director, Victoria Schmitt Babb, to champion this project across the finish line. Victoria helped to identify potential funders and developed strategies and tools to help with the fund development process. She also worked closely with K-Play grant writer, based in St. Louis, MO, who devoted her time to write grants on a continual basis.
“When they say it takes a village, that’s exactly what it takes to successfully complete a large inclusive playground project build. It took the whole Keokuk community,” says Babb.