Mumtak Zimbalist, a mother in Washington, is working with the city of Edmonds, Edmonds Rotary, and other parents to build a new playground that will be accessible to children with disabilities.
Zimbalist used to take her son, Mika, to a local park, but was frustrated by the lack of playground equipment he could use. Mika had cerebral palsy (CP) and used a wheelchair. In order to play on a swing, he needed to be lifted out of his chair, which became impossible as he grew. He was also unable to easily move around because the playground was lined with wood chips, which got stuck in his chair.
Mika recently passed away, shortly before his eleventh birthday. Zimbalist told HeraldNet, an Everett, Washington publication, of her motivation for creating this new playground:
“I really wanted to create something to honor him and his legacy, a place that represented his love of the outdoors. It’s really important that people know kids with disabilities really benefit from the inclusive environment and other kids benefit from seeing different types of people play.”
This place will be called “Mika’s Playground,” and will be located in the new Edmonds Civic Park. It will include a wheelchair-accessible spinner toy and wavy walkway, and the design team hopes to add many more accessible activities.
The Mika’s Playground website is currently asking for donations. Even before reaching out to companies and nonprofits, they had already raised 10,000 just from individual donors (1). Ultimately, their goal is $400,000.
The website notes that Mika’s Playground will be similar to Inspiration Playground in Bellevue, Washington: a very large, universally-accessible playground with a wide variety of activities for both kids and adults. As with Inspiration Playground, Mika’s Playground will not only cater to people who use wheelchairs, but also those with developmental and intellectual disabilities (such as autism, Down syndrome, sensory processing issues, etc).
“During his short life, Mika taught us so much about the benefits of inclusion and the importance of kids of all abilities being able to play together,” notes the Mika’s Playground website. “He would have loved nothing more than a park where he could easily engage in all types of play with all types of kids” (2).
How can I support Mika’s Playground?
If you would like to help make the plans for Mika’s Playground a reality, you can easily make a donation of any amount on their website: https://mikasplayground.org/donations/donate-to-mikas-playground/
Organizations and companies interested in contributing can contact [email protected] in order to discuss how their support may be showcased via a sponsorship or naming rights.
You can also contact the Mika’s Playground team to discuss other types of support you may be able to offer, such as helping to run a fundraiser or adding Mika’s Playground to your company’s donation matching program (2).
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- Thompson, J. (2020, January 27). Inclusive playground planned for $13 million Edmonds park. Retrieved January 29, 2020, from https://www.heraldnet.com/news/inclusive-playground-planned-for-13-million-edmonds-park/
- Home. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2020, from https://mikasplayground.org/