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February 4, 2016

Harmony Playground Kicks Off Fundraising Campaign with Gift From A Stone Thrown Forward

Pictured above: (L-R) Mark Stone, Alyssa Marryn, Erica Colee, Amelia Young, Jami Ludwig; Harmony Playground, Lauren Yough, Rita Colee, Dale Colee

Jami Ludwig recently accepted the $15,000 check on behalf of Harmony Playground from representatives of A Stone Thrown Forward.

A group of Effingham community members are leading a fundraising campaign that will bring an all inclusive playground to the community. Harmony Playground will offer a unique and meaningful play environment to individuals of all abilities. Harmony Playground is partnering with the Effingham County Community Foundation and Effingham Park District to launch its fundraising campaign, which was launched with a $15,000 grant from A Stone Thrown Forward, LLC.

Inclusive playgrounds, such as Harmony Playground, are designed to be ADA-accessible but extend beyond ADA requirements in order to ensure that the five elements of inclusive play (social/emotional, physical, sensory, cognitive, and communication) are met for each individual, allowing for a more fulfilling park experience. This playground structure also allows adults of all abilities, including veterans and senior citizens, to fully interact with their children and grandchildren while other playgrounds may leave these individuals on the sidelines.

Studies have shown that children with physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities have substantially greater difficulty participating in regularly physical activity, resulting in a greater likelihood that children with physical and developmental disabilities are significantly more likely to be obese or overweight compared to peers without a disability.

The benefits of inclusive playgrounds extend to all individuals by teaching children about similarities and differences and learning how to successfully play together can dramatically impact the quality of play experiences of all children. These intentional strategies to promote disability awareness provide children the tools to ask questions, get accurate information, explore their feelings, and learn how to positively interact with their peers.

To become involved with the fundraising campaign or to learn more about Harmony Playground, contact Aaron Myers (217-342-7306) or Jami Ludwig (217-663-8989). Donations may also be sent to the Effingham County Community Foundation and checks can be written to Effingham County Community Foundation with “Harmony Playground” included in the memo.

A Stone Thrown Forward was established in honor of Kyle Stone. Proceeds from the Kyle Stone Memorial Golf Outing are used to support youth programs at the Effingham Park District because of Kyle’s lifelong involvement with the park and its programs.

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