The finishing touches are being installed on the new therapeutic playground at Starbright Children’s Development Centre.
The community-based program assists the families of children who need extra support such as early intervention services and helps families through education and information to meet the needs of their children.
“It’s really difficult to put into words how much this really does mean,” said Rhonda Nelson, Starbright Children’s Development Centre executive director.
“This provides a beautiful environment with very specialized equipment that is going to help these children develop motor skills, use language skills and learn those very essential play skills.”
Now there are climbing rocks to develop core strength and balance, a swing that supports a parent and a child, a bubble rider for movement and sensory panels for the kids to play on.
Nelson and her team have been dreaming of the playground for four years and it took many community partners and two dedicated fundraisers, Jason Picklyk and Mohini Singh, to pull it off.
On a visit, Picklyk and Singh noticed that some of the property near the centre wasn’t being used.
“We noticed this area with a Sea-Can on it and I asked Rhonda why it was fenced off,” said Picklyk, Starbright volunteer.
Picklyk approached the city and was able to secure a lease for the land, and the Sea-Can was removed, then the duo started making phone calls.
“Our fundraising efforts were very simple, we reached out to people who we believed would support our vision of this play area and nobody has said no to us,” said Singh, Starbright volunteer.
“I am so grateful to the community for the generosity they have shown, we raised $80,000 for this little play area. We were short a little money and big thanks to Kelowna Toyota, they came through, took us over the top and made this a reality.”
While the playground is almost finished, they are plans to begin fundraising once again to expand by adding new equipment in the future.