Williston Woman Tries to Make Playgrounds More Accessible
By Mary Gagliardi
Running around, climbing stairs and playing on swings are privileges a lot of us have taken for granted. But realistically, there are many children who never had access to playgrounds or jungle gyms due to the lack of accessibility for wheelchairs, crutches and other similar equipment. One Williston woman looks to change that.
Joscelyn Lynch, the co-founder of Play 4 All Playground, used her daughter as her inspiration when a friend proposed this plan to her.
"I am a parent. I have a beautiful six-year-old daughter. She's in kindergarten at Hagen Elementary and she was diagnosed with epilepsy at seven months old. When she was two and a half she had a prolonged seizure which left her with partial stroke. Some of the playground equipment in the community that has ladders and stuff like that is hard for her to use. So, when she came to me and proposed this idea, I thought it was great because my daughter will also be able to use all of the equipment there," says Lynch.
Lynch is in the process of fundraising a playground in Williston that is all inclusive, meaning it is 100 percent accessible to all children and any adaptable equipment they may have.
"Our goal was to raise $550,000. We're at $400,000, right now. Our playground equipment has been ordered and should be delivered sometime in January. Well store that and hopefully we can start building in spring," says Lynch.
Community Builders heard about the goals of Play 4 All Playground and donated $8,000 to the cause. President Darla Ratzik believes Williston needs a park like this.
"I think Williston needs it. As we grow the needs are growing. As we get new people in the community all the time and we don't know what all their needs are. So, I think well have more people utilizing it then we really expect," explains Ratzik.
When the going gets tough, Lynch looks to her daughter and is reminded what she is fighting for.
"Growing up I always wanted to make a difference. I didn't know how or what, but as I've got older it's really been something I've wanted to do. And now with my daughter, she's been my complete inspiration and to bring this to our community and say I had a hand in it is awesome," says Lynch.
The new playground will be located at the western star complex. The park board provided the land for the project
To help Jocelyn with the Play 4 All Playground or to make a donation, contact her at 701-570-9758.
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