On a recent rainy Saturday morning, members of the Santa Cruz Sunrise Rotary Club descended upon Chanticleer Park in Live Oak armed with clippers, rakes, and shovels. In good cheer, despite the inclement weather, they spent several hours hauling wood chips, trimming trees, and installing a LEO’s Haven educational sign.
It was only the most recent show of support from the Sunrise Rotary Club for the community campaign underway to build 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.
In addition to installing a LEO’s Haven sign at Chanticleer Park, the Sunrise Rotary Club chose LEO’s Haven as the charitable beneficiary for their 2016 Firecracker 5K/10K Race, provided an $8,300 grant to purchase educational panels for the main play structure, and will support the playground with their annual club bike ride in 2017. They are also recruiting other area Rotary clubs to support LEO’s Haven.
Karen Gosling, past club president, explains why the Sunrise Rotary Club is committed to LEO’s Haven. “I am so excited our club has taken this opportunity to get involved with this project. It fits in completely with the ideals of Rotary, including helping to build communities and support our youth. The energy and focus of the community organizers behind this is incredible. It’s a remarkable example of what can be accomplished when passionate, committed people get together.
We don’t have anywhere for our children of different abilities to play together in our County, so this project is vital for our whole community and will be a magical place for all kids.”
“There’s a lot to be done, but it’s just waiting to happen, and here it is happening, right now,” said current president, Mary Alsip.
Tricia Potts, the mom heading up the efforts to build LEO’s Haven said, “We are so thankful Sunrise Rotary Club has been a key supporter. They have already poured hours of their time, labor, and love into this project and we are excited to be working with this organization to make LEO’s Haven a reality.”
If you would also like to be involved in the efforts to build LEO’s Haven at Chanticleer Park, please visit the project website at santacruzplaygroundproject.org for more information.