The effort to make local playgrounds accessible to all made a surge on the hardcourt April 11.
Bellefontaine Middle School and the Logan County Board of DD hosted the 2nd annual Community Outreach Basketball Game between the Logan County Special Olympics Braves Basketball Team, local law enforcement and first responders.
The Braves and members of the Bellefontaine Fire Department, Bellefontaine Police Department and Logan County Sheriff’s Office combined to make two teams on the floor using Unified Special Olympics rules. They urged each other on from the court and the bench. Students from Discovery Center led cheers on the sidelines and performed a halftime dance routine.
At the conclusion of the first half, Bellefontaine Intermediate School intervention specialist Tracy Gregg and Logan County Board of DD Community First Coordinator Kelli Bader reminded the crowd what the evening was all about.
“I’m so pleased that the effort to make playgrounds accessible to all has gained so much attention in Logan County,” Gregg said.
Bader continued, “This game is very symbolic of the efforts behind the Come Play at the Peak project because people of all abilities and backgrounds are coming together for one cause. We have first responders playing with special olympians, cheerleaders with and without disabilities cheering, Cub Scouts with all different talents willing to help and a school that is willing to donate facilities. All this makes me confident that we can accomplish this goal and help all kids feel included and supported in our community.”
Gregg’s Dare To Be Aware Club at BIS spearheaded the effort to make playgrounds accessible to children of all abilities last school year when one student lamented not being able to play with a special needs sibling on local play structures. The club’s actions led to the creation of the Come Play at the Peak Committee that is currently raising money and making plans to add accessible equipment to the playground at Bellefontaine’s Southview Park this summer and completely remodel Kaleidoscope playground in Mary Rutan Park in the near future. A handicap accessible swing has already been added to a local park with funds donated from the Bellefontaine Rotary Club.
A donation challenged between the Rotary Club and the Bellefontaine Kiwanis Club at the door to the basketball game netted nearly $1,000, while other donations at the door brought in $433. Totals for the 50/50 drawing, concessions and t-shirts sales, combined with donations at the event are approaching $2,500, with a few more donations still to come. All proceeds will go toward the Come Play at the Peak project. Additional donations can be mailed to:
Logan County Board of DD Foundation, Play at the Peak Project
P.O. Box 710
Bellefontaine, Ohio 43311
Submitted by the Logan County Board of DD.