On a gloriously sunny, Saturday morning, about 80 members from 10 different District 4-C6 Lions Clubs descended upon Chanticleer Park in Live Oak armed with rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows and doughnuts. They winterized the park by spreading wood chips in the dog area and tidying up the pump track.
The workday was one of many community events raising funding for LEO’s Haven at Chanticleer Park, Santa Cruz County’s first inclusive playground. Inclusive playgrounds are specially designed so children of all abilities can play side by side while learning vital lessons of compassion, awareness and acceptance.
A surprise appearance from local celebrity, Krazy George, cheered the group on. Leo’s Club youth from the Watsonville-based Aztecas soccer team and James Lick High School in San Jose worked side-by-side with the Lions. The Freedom Lions Club served a hotdog and chili lunch. Scotts Valley Host Lions Club presented a check for $5,000 to sponsor play equipment in the playground that will benefit children with visual impairments.
“Scotts Valley Host Lions Club is delighted to contribute to the success of Leo’s Haven and to support access to a healthy, safe and fun play space for children of all abilities in our community,” said Scotts Valley Host Lions Club President, Jon Glommen.
In addition to the Chanticleer Park work day, local clubs including Santa Cruz Host, Cabrillo Host, Freedom, Scotts Valley Host and Sunnyvale Host have financially contributed to LEO’s Haven through a variety of fundraisers. They are also encouraging other district clubs to support the playground.
Bob Stewart, current district governor explains why the Lions are committed to LEO’s Haven, “Lions are all about community service, and key areas of focus are youth and inclusiveness. LEO’s Haven is a perfect example of who we are, what we do, and why we are Lions.”
Tricia Potts, the mom behind the effort to build LEO’s Haven said, “We are so thankful to have the Lions involved in making LEO’s Haven a reality. With a playground name like LEO’s Haven, of course the Lions have to be involved!”
The name LEO is an acronym of Potts’ three children: Lauren, Evelyn, and Oliver, who are the inspiration for building an inclusive playground within the county. Currently parents have to drive their children outside the county to access a playground with a fully-inclusive design so this is a much needed resource for the local community.
If you would also like to be involved in the efforts to build LEO’s Haven at Chanticleer Park or would like further information about how you can sponsor a bench, picnic table or tree to honor a loved one, celebrate a milestone or show your community support, please visit the project website at santacruzplaygroundproject.org for more information.