Help the Exceptional Foundation win a $25,000 Grant to Build an All-inclusive Playground

The Exceptional Foundation Gulf Coast is in the running to win a $25,000 grant from State Farm for an all-inclusive playground in the community to serve people of all abilities. The winners will be selected by voting, so follow the link to vote:
The exceptional Foundation wants to build and equip an Inclusive Universal Playground in our community to serve people of all abilities

This kind of park will invite and encourage inclusive play and recreation for persons with and without physical limitations. An Inclusive Playground is for everyone. According to the American Community Survey published by the U.S. Census Bureau (2015), it is estimated that the Total Civilian Non-institutionalized Population of Baldwin County, Alabama is 192,770. Of that total, 26,550 (or about 14%) are disabled by hearing, vision, cognitive, or ambulatory difficulty. Since the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 came into effect, there's been a growing focus on making parks and recreational facilities accessible. However, there's a big difference between something that's minimally accessible (ADA compliant), completely accessible, and truly inclusive of people with all types of abilities and challenges. There are none that are inclusive currently located in Daphne or near the entire Eastern Shore of Baldwin County. 

The Exceptional Foundation of the Gulf Coast in full collaboration with the Daphne/Spanish Fort Kiwanis Club plans to acquire land in the city of Daphne to construct and equip a fully functional Universal Park which will exceed the minimal ADA standards. Play is a critical part of physical, emotional, mental, and social development for every child. Particularly for children with disabilities, play is therapy in both the physical and emotional sense. Physically, children's muscles need to be exercised just like anyone else. Emotionally, children need to interact and socialize with their peers. However, for many kids with disabilities, their days are spent with parents, doctors, nurses, therapists, and other adults. In fact, research supports that children with disabilities are a greatly underserved population when it comes to health programming and intervention. One of the primary reasons is that most play/exercise places are inaccessible. We plan to change that! 

On fully accessible playgrounds, children with disabilities can swing, slide, and climb with their friends, siblings, and parents - something they literally may have never been able to do before. The benefits of fully accessible playgrounds don't stop with kids who have challenges. Able-bodied children learn and grow on accessible playgrounds by interacting with others who are in some ways different from them. Accessible playgrounds also allow parents and other adults with disabilities to play with their children - something that's often not possible on at a traditional playground. Fully accessible playgrounds help break social barriers, and become an environment where everyone learns to respect and understand each other, and those are the kinds of lessons that can last a lifetime. An inclusive playground is for everyone, and - because of that - this type of playground is a benefit for the entire community.

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