"No one knows how hard it is for me to go to a playground. In a place where everyone should be included, I am not."
-- words of a child with a disability
And so, that was the inspiration that helped launch the Magical Bridge Playground Project and its mission to help develop all-inclusive playgrounds in Bay Area communities and beyond. It all began some seven years ago when the foundation was launched and a significant fundraising campaign helped develop the seed money to begin work on the first playground in Palo Alto. That location opened to the public in April of 2015 and since then, a new location in Redwood City is being built with an estimated completion date of Dec. 2018. Additional locations in Sunnyvale, Morgan Hill and Mountain View are planned and are in the midst of fundraising to support the construction costs.
The nice thing about these playgrounds, as costly as they are, is that a diverse group of individuals, organizations, companies, foundation and city governments have been coming together to do the bulk of the heavy lifting as it relates to the funding required.
But these playgrounds offer more than access for the children with disabilities. They are also a great way for a disabled parent to play with their able-body child and not have to worry about not being able to safeguard their child from the usual troubles they can find themselves in. That was the experience of Chris Bridgman, a paraplegic resident of Mountain View, who has three sons. They discovered the Palo Alto location and not only do his kids have lots to play with but it also allows Chris to play along with them while being there for their safety as well.
If you are interested in bringing a Magical Bridge Playground to your community or elementary schools, contact the organization on their web site.