When you conjure the image of a playground in your mind, you can likely imagine the cacophony of sounds; children yelling, gravel crunching underfoot, metal equipment groaning. But what about children who are overwhelmed by the sounds and chaos? What about children who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids? Playtime is essential for all children, and Random Acts believes that kids should have access to playgrounds regardless of any disability. Putting this belief into action, Random Acts and John Lorek of Illinois Ability Sports and CTX Ability Sports worked together to bring accessible playground equipment to a low-income neighborhood in Illinois.
Playgrounds for Everyone
Different children have different needs when they play. Some kids with autism or sensory processing issues need a quiet place to go when they are feeling overwhelmed and overstimulated. Some kids who use mobility aids need equipment that does not need to be climbed. However, there are not many playgrounds built with these children in mind, particularly in low-income areas. That is why John Lorek was determined to create an accessible playground, first in Texas, then in Illinois. Random Acts Social Media Co-Manager Julie Merar was his point of contact for the Illinois project.
“John reached out to me after he heard about Random Acts from a dear friend that watches Supernatural,” Julie explained. “He built the first playground like this in Texas, where he resides. He also frequently hands out bulk socks and other items he finds through contacts to many communities in need. Like Random Acts, John wants every community to have these all-inclusive playgrounds where all children can enjoy the outdoors together.”
Thanks to our lovely and generous supporters, Random Acts and another organization were able to provide Illinois Ability Sports with enough money to purchase two Cozy Cocoons for two school playgrounds in Havana, Illinois. According to a project wrap-up email that John sent to supporters, the Cozy Cocoons were a big hit! “My wife and I drove by the elementary school earlier today and the children were having a blast on theirs! They even had about 10 children waiting in line for their turn,” John said.
Thank you, Julie, John, and you, our supporters, for making the world a bit more accessible and a lot more fun for kids in Illinois! Check out Our Kindness Stories for more accounts of kindness like this one!