Early Risers Kiwanis Club

Early Risers Kiwanis of Worthington, MN, a city with a diverse population of 13;000 is seeking funds to construct an All-Inclusive Playground at Chautauqua Park. Worthington is a community that has a definite need for an all -inclusive facility where all children can have a positive playground experience. There are many parks in the City, many with playground equipment, but none of the playground equipment is handicapped approved, so there is a definite need for an all-inclusive type playground. This project will have equipment that is accessible for wheelchair bound individuals on a rubber surface. The playground will include all children with any physical or emotional need, where they are no longer classified as “handicapped” but can play inclusively with everyone. One individual approached for a donation to the playground, gave a sizeable donation, and stated that he was 100% in favor of the project. When he was young, he had polio and was deprived of doing activities that a normal child could do. It brought back memories of him being handicapped and having to sit on the sidelines and watch other children have a good time. This gentleman also owns a trucking company and has offered to transport the playground parts at no cost. This is one example of community commitment to this very worthwhile project.

Additional Information

City of Worthington Park Dept., Worthington City Council, Chamber of Commerce, Early Risers Kiwanis, Prairie Rehab,
The community has been extremely supportive of the All-Inclusive Playground project. Fundraising has been going very well and the Early Risers Kiwanis members are confident that funds will be raised so that construction of the playground will start April 1, 2021. The City of Worthington is building a new handicap approved rest room scheduled to start construction April 1, 2021, so they will close the park and build the restroom and installation of the playground will be done at the same time.
The following are excerpts from a letter written by a family of our community and is why we are committed to this project: “We knew in utero life for Blaine would be different. He was born with a rare genetic disorder known as Joubert Syndrome. Children with Joubert syndrome have low muscle tone, difficulties with coordination, abnormal eye movements, visual impairments, abnormal breathing patterns (including apnea) and intellectual disability. Since three months old, Blaine has been in physical, occupational and speech therapy and has made some great strides in his coordination and strength. Play and peer relationships are also such important parts of development. What an all-inclusive playground will mean for us is that Blaine will be able to explore and wander the playground independently, he will have more opportunities to be engaged with other children and hopefully make a new friend. This playground will also have accessible surfacing and sufficient space to maneuver between equipment and onto the equipment—which means Blaine will be able to transfer himself onto the playground equipment. We are thrilled to see all of the equipment that multiple kids can use together. Blaine will be able to play more with other kids, his sister, and even us (his parents). When we talk about the park with Blaine and show him pictures of what is coming he gets excited and will give a shrieking shout of “YAY!!”, taps his chest and says “Me too, I can do it, I can play.” It’s heartwarming to know that he already feels included. A lot of time, thought, and research went into the plans for this park. We are looking forward to seeing children from all abilities play together and explore the colors, textures, enclosures, fencing, sensory stimulus activities and the other great features that has been planned for this park. It is going to be a great atmosphere for the kids and adults to play TOGETHER our community is fortunate to have this opportunity. Thank you Early Risers Kiwanis for investing into our community. Sincerely, The Frisch’s Dan, Amber, Blaine and Kaycee”