Aptos Business Sponsors Inclusive Playground Equipment
By pledging money for every fitness circuit completed in the month of May, the gym’s members incorporated cardio vascular exercise and strength training with fundraising to donate the $6,600 needed for the playground’s Oodle Swing. The product allows multiple children to swing together, stimulating social interaction and vestibular health.
It will be located in the playground’s high-activity zone, designed for 5 to 12 year olds.
A partnership of the Santa Cruz Playground Project, the County of Santa Cruz, Shane’s Inspiration and the Chanticleer Park Neighbors, LEO’s Haven at Chanticleer Park will be the first inclusive playground in the county. It is the inspiration of Tricia and Bob Potts, who wanted a space where their children could play together: 11-year-old twins Lauren and Evelyn Potts Oliver Potts, 6, who uses a wheelchair. Together they are the namesake for LEO’s Haven.
Additional funds were raised at Curves’ open house, where drawings were made for items donated by Aptos and Soquel businesses.
The Santa Cruz Playground Project, founded by the Potts family, is in the midst of a drive to raise an estimated $2 million in private funds needed to build the playground. “Our goal is to wrap up fundraising by June 2018, and with the amazing support of our community, we are on track to do just that.”
Janna Malizia, owner of Curves Aptos said the project holds a special place in her heart. Before going into the field of fitness, she was a special education teacher for orthopedically impaired children. Her students were bright children with moderate to severe limitations that often kept them at home when they were not in school. Malizia strived to get them outdoors and exposed to the “real world.”
But an outing to a playground was a massive undertaking involving one-on-one adult supervision and the necessity to literally carry the children to the playground. The children’s reactions to the thrilling slides and swings made the effort worthwhile.
Universally designed playgrounds like LEO’s Haven make it possible for those same children and their parents to access the playground equipment on their own, increasing interaction, familiarity and empathy with children of all abilities. For more information or to support LEO’s Haven please visit www.santacruzplaygroundproject.org.