Mother raises $10k for inclusive playground for daughter

Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 1:25 PM EDT
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ADRIAN, Mich. (WTVG) - Recess is the highlight of the school day for many children, when they can climb around on the playground with their friends.

But one little girl in Adrian couldn’t join in on the fun, and now her mom is working to change that.

The playground at Alexander Elementary could use an update, and thanks to one mom, it’s happening. Natasha Abbott works at the school supervising kids on the playground at recess. Every day she watched one little girl sitting on the sidelines, unable to access the playground in her wheelchair. Abbott would think of her own daughter, Dayton, who is entering Alexander as a kindergartener this year and is also in a wheelchair due to spina bifida.

So Abbott started collecting bottles and cans in her backyard and recycling them for 10 cents apiece. Then she took it up a notch and started selling stickers and t-shirts, setting out coin jars in local businesses, and having online auctions for donated goods.

Can drive to build a boundless playground.
Can drive to build a boundless playground.(WTVG)

In less than three months, she presented Alexander Elementary a check for $10,000 for an inclusive playground that all kids can enjoy, which is known as a boundless playground.

“Watching a child in a wheelchair, when you have a child in a wheelchair, not be able to be included, is heartbreaking. And as a mother of a child with challenges, I want for her what every other kid has,” says Abbott.

The school’s principal, Shanan Henline, is onboard and even got an estimate: $130,000. The cost is not deterring Abbott or Henline. The school has already installed a wheelchair-friendly swing, and Abbott’s donation will go towards replacing the tanbark with a rubberized mat that all kids can access.

The ultimate goal is that someday Dayton, and all other children with disabilities, will be able to play on everything with their friends at recess.

“As educators, that’s why we do what we do is for the students. It’s all for them, and so just to see her be able to play with her peers, to be interacting with them, and just having fun, I think that’s what it’s all about,” says Henline.

With her father’s help, Dayton played at the playground for an hour yesterday. When her parents finally wanted to call it a day, she cried.

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