Saturday, September 04, 2010

Freedom Playground - Where Kids Are Free to Be

I am so proud of my friend Stefani Busansky that I just had to share this video clip with you (at right are Stefani's two children, Claire and Sarah).  Sarah (11), who is bright and sweet and very funny, was born with cerebral palsy. Stefani, like most moms, wanted nothing more than to see her laugh and play and be a kid, despite her mobility limitations.

So Stefani, instead of complaining about it, DID something about it, and founded the non-profit Freedom Playground Foundation, single-handedly raising $500,000 toward a brand-new "barrier-free" children's playground. That money was then matched by the city, and Freedom Playground was officially opened to the public two years ago. Stefani's fund-raising efforts didn't stop there, though, as she now works full time spawning an entire series of all-access playgrounds throughout the city.

This month, on behalf of LaVoy Exceptional Center, a public school that provides educational and life skills programs for students with disabilities, Stefani and Sarah will travel 1900 miles from Tampa to Minnesota in a fundraising "Wheel-A-Thon" to raise funds for a sensory garden and natural play area at LaVoy.

Since the trip will also mark the 20th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities act, Stefani and Sarah will be visiting hotels, restaurants, attractions and recreational areas and reporting on accessibility—the good and the bad—on Facebook and Twitter.

They had a big kick-off party this morning at the playground, complete with pancakes, comedians and lots of laughing, smiling kids.  I'd never ask anyone to donate for anything I don't believe in with my whole heart, but if you'd like to help a few more kids laugh, consider making a donation yourself, by clicking on THIS LINK, or go visit the Freedom Playground Foundation for more info.

Thanks, and have a great Labor Day weekend!!

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