Kiwanis Club of Lima Ohio

The merry-go-round spins faster and faster as its occupants shout in delight. This is eight-year old Justin’s first ride on a merry-go-round and it is so exciting he moves quickly to the next new experience. His six-year old brother joins him. From a flying swing to a sliding board, to musical boards and color wheels, the two brothers move from one new experience to the next. They join hands as they zoom down the slide and land on a squishy surface. A young mother stands nearby as she watches her sons play on playground equipment together for the very first time. Justin has a disability. In the past, he could only watch his brother play. This special moment is possible because of playground equipment designed for all abilities. An All Ability Playground will provide experiences like these for all children in the area and especially the 1450 plus children and adults with disabilities served by the Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DD). The Lima Kiwanis Club, in partnership with The Arc, the Board of DD, and the Marimor Legacy Foundation seeks to build such a playground at Marimor School, a school for students with disabilities; a playground that will compliment, not duplicate, the one built in Phase I of this project at Camp Robin Rogers. Not only will this playground be available during the school day for students attending Marimor School but will be available for the entire community. Your vote could make this happen!

Additional Information

What organizations will support this playground project?: We have a strong collaboration, with demonstrated success in fundraising, committed to the success of this project. Two years ago, the Kiwanis Club decided to build an All Ability Playground at Camp Robin Rogers, a camp for individuals with developmental disabilities owned and operated by The Arc of Allen County. The Kiwanis Club approached the Marimor Legacy Foundation for assistance and discovered that the Allen County Board of DD had also requested assistance to raise funds for an All Ability Playground on their property which houses Marimor School, the Educational Service Center Preschool and Marimor Industries. A meeting was called at the United Way with the Kiwanis Club, The Arc of Allen County, the Board of DD, Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District and the Legacy Foundation. After meeting, we realized this was an opportunity and agreed that we would join forces and work on the project in collaboration.The Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District committed to building a road and a bridge connecting the Ottawa Metro Park to the playground, conveying a clear message that the playground is open to the public and welcoming to all. It was agreed that the first build would be at Camp Robin Rogers because their playground was antiquated and not usable for individuals with disabilities. Successful funding, which included an equipment grant from Ohio District Kiwanis Foundation, allowed us to build the Camp Robin Rogers All Ability Playground in July 2020 so now the focus is on Phase II.
How will you ensure your playground is ready to be installed by Kiwanis One Day 2020?: This collaboration has demonstrated success. We have been fundraising for over two years to build an All Ability Playground at Marimor School and one at Camp Robin Rogers, a summer camp for children and adults with disabilities. There are 18 donors who have contributed $1,000 or more. There are over 200 donors who have contributed less than $1,000. Besides Kiwanis, three other service clubs have joined in this effort. The support from the community has been phenomenal. With the commitment of the Allen County Board of DD and the community partners and supporters, the success of this project is assured. This 1.26 million dollar project has received tremendous support from the community, but since COVID-19, donations are becoming scarcer, especially large donations. The All Ability Playground at Camp Robin Rogers is completed and a ribbon cutting media event will be held soon; we expect to break ground at Marimor School in the spring of 2021. This $25,000 in equipment from Landscape Structures, who has been with us from the beginning, will help us achieve our goal of building two all ability playgrounds in Allen County; one on the west side of the county and one on the east side of the county. We expect to have the Marimor site completed by the end of the summer of 2021 and have a grand ribbon cutting and celebration at the site on Kiwanis One Day in October, 2021.
Please feel free to include additional comments about your application.: We believe this project aligns with the Kiwanis mission and will be a great asset to the community. The Educational Service Center houses their preschool developmental disabilities program that serves the entire county at Marimor School. They serve about 160 children each school year. The All Ability Playground is designed to appeal to everyone, from preschool through adult with all levels of physical ability. Since this piece so closely aligns with the Kiwanis motto of “serving the children of the world, one child and one community at a time,” our committee has targeted the SmartPlay Loft and Fire Station (image attached) for this equipment grant. This station is designed to engage the child’s sensory, motor, cognitive and social skills. It has 12 interactive activities addressing developmentally-appropriate skills. It will keep ages 2-5 engaged for hours as they explore through play, developing their body, mind and social skills. he unit costs about $31,000 so the balance will be covered by the Kiwanis Club of Lima through targeted fundraisers. A plaque would be installed on that equipment identifying Kiwanis International and the local club for their contributions.