For your 10 years of service to the Play For All Playground & Garden Foundation.
From Sandy Gbur:
Play is critical to the development of all kids. The Sensory Garden Playground project has been a joy to work with for the past 10 years. The idea that we can come together as a community and raise funds for each phase is, for me, the definition of inspiration.
As the former Executive Director of the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association, I am so appreciative of the opportunity to provide presentations to local service clubs and donors so that they could be part of this amazing project. The idea that we can build a play space focused on children with special needs and schedule Play Days that will bring children with and without disabilities together is a great way to teach the importance of inclusion at such an early age.
Thanks to Will Grosch of Community Bank, we formed the Play for All Playground & Garden Foundation which allowed us to form a 501(c)(3) and accept donations that were earmarked for a particular phase. The Wheaton Park District staff have been so committed to this project and a joy to work with, from finding the site to build this magical space, to holding fundraisers, to ordering the equipment and installing it. Mike Benard’s leadership of the foundation has contributed to our success. Our first large grant from Shane’s Inspiration provided us with the design for the playground that supported the rich history of the Danada area. It is named for Dan and Ada Rice who owned Lucky Debonair, a thoroughbred racehorse that won the 1965 Kentucky Derby.
Perhaps it took a worldwide pandemic for us to understand the real value of connection, playing outdoors and de-stressing. Seventeen percent of kids ages 6 to 12 experience mental health issues. As parents, we must move away from screens and social media and go out and enjoy life. We must set the example for our children! Our children’s well-being has to be our priority and there is nothing better than unscheduled free play.
Each phase of the sensory garden project is built in a beautiful forest preserve surrounded by nature. All donations, no matter how small, will help us to build the 5 to 12-year-old play area which is now our focus. Perhaps you have children or grandchildren who could enjoy this play area at 2751 Navistar Drive in Lisle.
It takes all of us to build community! My thanks to all of the private foundations, anonymous donors and all those who have taken the time to support our efforts. You are all appreciated.