If you think back to your days in school, you might be able to recall a kid who had physical limitations that kept them off the playground. For me, that was a boy in the 4th grade named Richard. I don't recall anyone ever being mean to Richard, or intentionally ostracizing him, but I certainly don't have any memories of him being on the playground with the rest of us.  I assume he stayed inside with the teacher, but I can't say for sure. Whatever the case, I know that we were all contributing to some sad days for Richard and probably for his parents as well. I can't imagine how I would feel if I went to my daughter's school and saw her sitting alone while other kids laughed and played. Being ignored can be just as damaging as being bullied. We ignored Richard because he was out of sight, out of mind.

These days, I realize that Richard was not only missing out on the physical things that his paralysis excluded him from, but he was also missing the chance to get to know other kids.  It seemed like that was just another thing that a kid in a wheelchair had to endure; it seemed okay. That shouldn't be the case.

We have better options. Playground equipment has been designed to allow those with limited mobility to join in the fun of being a kid and thanks to the hard work of Every Child Plays Billings and many generous donations, our city will soon have this equipment.

The inclusive playground will be opening this summer at Rose Park Elementary School but is still $80,000 short of their goal. If you have the means to help out, please find out how to do so by clicking here.  You can donate online, it's tax deductible, and you'll feel amazing for helping out so many kids this summer and for many summers to come.

Every Child Plays Billings wants everyone to know that this playground will be open to the community, not just students at Rose Park Elementary. This will be life changing for many kids, so even if you can only spare five bucks, please consider contributing.

Follow their Facebook page for updates and thank you for helping!


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