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Making a Difference | Little Friends Playground looking for an upgrade

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A “WHEEL” FRIENDLY PLAYGROUND

Independence - it's a goal many people with disabilities strive for - at work and at play.

And folks at a Cumberland county daycare are making a difference by renovating their playground.

But it's not the swings or the slide or other *equipment* being upgraded, it's an unwanted "obstacle".

3-year old Roland Thomas may have Cerebral Palsy, but the muscular disorder isn't enough to stop him from enjoying his playset at his Mechanicsburg home with his friends and brother Niles.

Roland's family replaced the monkey bars with a swing and added a bridge ramp and rock wall -- turning the Thomas family playset into a therapeutic tool as well.

Roland’s mom, Renee, stresses how important it is for Roland to “play with all the neighborhood kids and play with his brother and everybody else, but maybe in a little different way."

And that takes us to First United Methodist church and Little Friends Nursery School in Mechanicsburg, where the Playground Resurfacing Project is underway to replace the wood chips with poured rubber.

Chris Sims, Director of Little Friends Nursery School says they were happy to make the changes, especially seeing firsthand how Roland struggles to roll his wheelchair over the tan bark.

"So we are really hoping to get the playground resurfaced with the rubber so he can just wheel right on there or go up to the equipment he wants to climb on and play with his friends.", Sims says.

And, the upgrade will not only help Roland, but all the "little friends" at the school and in the community.

Roland’s dad Lowell says it’s a conversation starter, and that’s important.

"We need to start to have these conversations and expose these issues with these kids. Many are not aware that sometimes you can just alter the budget slightly and the next thing you know you have a whole group of kids that can play with everybody.", Thomas says.

And speaking of the budget, a "You Caring" fundraising site has been established with the goal of $20,000 to help pay for the poured rubber to replace the tan bark.

Once that's done, nothing will replace the accessibility and independence that will come with the upgrade.

You can also send checks, payable to Little Friends Nursery School c/o Playground Project, 135 West Simpson Street, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

The hope is to resurface in the Spring.

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