Amy Martin (423) 569-2366
Lou Ann Smith (865) 617-6492
Letter To The Community
I am very happy to give an exciting update about "Play With No Boundaries" special needs playground's progress.
WE ARE HALFWAY THERE!! PWNB has approximately raised $87,000.00!
I am sure that you agree with me that there is nothing in the world more important than our children. Occasionally with or through our children, we experience profound, life-changing moments. For me that moment was when I witnessed a special needs child swinging for the first time on an all-inclusive playground. The child was able to play along side of their friends and siblings just like all the other children without being bound by their special circumstances. I was profoundly moved by this and immediately began to think about what it would take for the children of Scott County to have access to a special needs playground. From this the "Play With No Boundaries" special needs playground concept was born.
What started as a personal mission for me to give my son, Joseph, a safe place to play, quickly grew into a community's mission. As a mother of 4, my other 3 children loved to go to the park and play. When Joseph began to walk, all the uneven surfaces, hills, and barriers of traditional playground equipment made it almost impossible for me to take all my children to the park. So the planning began in 2010 for the "Play With No Boundaries" all inclusive playground. It is 5,175 square feet of state of the art equipment designed for special needs children to play safely. The entire space will consist of poured rubber surfacing so children can navigate the playground by themselves. It has double wide ramps so children in wheelchairs will not have to back down to allow others to pass. This playground will not only give special needs children a safe place to play, but will give all children the opportunity to develop self-respect and respect for others through the universal language of play.
In June of 2011, we had our first roadblock fundraiser and collected $6,000.00 despite the community's persistent double digit unemployment. This showed me that the people of Scott County wholeheartedly supported this project. We have had two very successful "Dancing Like The Stars" events raising approximately $15,000, which has now turned into an annual fall event at Oneida High School's Performing Arts Center. There have also been many donations from Philanthropists, businesses, and other individuals. The Tennessee Technology Center received a $10,000 grant to aid in the purchasing of the swing sets and seating. We have received the Plateau Electric Operation Pocket Change grant for $1,000.00, and the Citizens Gas Pennies for a Purpose grant for $700.00.
There have been many little things from motivated individuals that go along way towards making the playground a reality. Recently, we embraced the social media's ability to publicize our cause. Missy Young, Melissa Roberts, and Allison Gilbert sent request into the Ellen DeGeneres show via facebook to raise awareness of the need for a special needs playground in Scott County. The following links will take you directly to the post. The more "likes" and comments that we can get, the more interest we can generate.
While as of January 31, 2012 the space still sits empty at the Oneida City Park. We will see "Play With No Boundaries" become a reality. We have overcome so many obstacles from the very beginning, and we will not fail. As we continue our journey, we are currently selling t-shirts for $15.00 and engraved bricks for $100.00. The bricks will form a "Walk of Thanks" and will serve as the entrance into the playground. If you would like to further discuss "Play With No Boundaries" special needs playground, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me, Amy Martin, by phone (423) 569-2366, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or through our Play With No Boundaries facebook page.
- Amy and Joseph