In January of 2012, we heard Opportunity house, a local homeless shelter, transitional living, and daycare center, was exploring options of building a community playground, because it was one thing they were lacking. We partnered with the IM ABLE Foundation, Berks Youth in Action, and Lowe’s Heroes to bring this fully adaptive playground to fruition on June 23, 2012. The playground was created so that kids with disabilities can play right alongside able-bodied children instead of watching from the sidelines. This playground is the first fully adaptive playground in Berks County with over 92 adaptive pieces. After reviewing the number of children in Berks County with autism or other disabilities, we knew there was a need for an adaptive playground, making the project a no-brainer. We formed a fantastic team and we overwhelmed by the tremendous support from the community. The entire process was emotional for everyone involved to see how a playground could touch the lives of so many. Click Here to View Photo Album
Berks Youth in Action is a group of local high school students who felt the need to give back to a community that has given them so much. They raised over $40,000 for this project in a matter of months! IM ABLE is a local non-profit whose mission is to remove obstacles that prevent people affected by disabilities from being physically active by providing grants, resources, fitness opportunities and motivation. We change attitudes about the potential of disabled individuals by redefining what is possible. We were very excited to have been chosen by several local Lowe’s stores through their Lowe’s Heroes program. Lowe’s donated countless supplies, paint, equipment, and provided lots of their workers with expertise who served as station leaders for the volunteers.
Projects at The Backyard went beyond the actual playground. We also landscaped the courtyard of the Second Street Learning Center and put together and installed picnic tables. In the picnic area we stained the shed and arbor, re-stoned and mulched the area as well as planting many flowers. Some of the men’s bathrooms inside the shelter were repainted. The small patio area was created outside of the Second Street Learning Center as well. We had lot of people working on the playground installation, by putting pieces together, cementing, and leveling equipment. Due to the outpouring of volunteers, we also arranged a crew of volunteers to do a clean-up within a 2 block radius of Opportunity House. It was an amazing day with well over 300 people in attendance.
View photos of the project using the gallery below or click here to check out all of our photo albums on Facebook.