A Red Deer caregiver is hoping to raise money for an inclusive playground for young children in the city.
Julia Klassen wants to raise $120,000 to improve the small playground on Deschner Close so the boy she assists can play at a park closer to his home.
Griffin, who is almost three years old and whose family does not want his last name used, has a genetic condition that limits his mobility and delays his development.
“It’s almost in 2022. All parks should be built for everyone, in my opinion,” said Klassen who has set up the GoFundMe account Inclusive Park for Griffin.
She said the three playgrounds closest to where Griffin lives have sand bases. For children with mobility issues, like Griffin who needs a wheelchair, those parks are not accessible.
The barrier-free playground a few blocks away at Mattie McCullough Elementary School in Lancaster is too busy with school-age children for Griffin, she said.
“We have gone to that a few times but because of his condition, he’s immune compromised, he can’t go to school or be around children that frequently.”
She said Griffin can easily catch a cold or flu.
“We were locked down before lockdown was a thing.”
Klassen wants to build a playground with a ground level merry go round, a large saucer swing, flat flooring, and sensory items.
She hopes to get donations from local organizations, and recently reached out to Piper Creek Optimist Club and other groups.
“It’s not just (a playground) for one kid. It’s for every kid. It’s not just for kids with disabilities. That’s what’s important.”
She hopes to raise enough money over the winter to build the playground next year to help Red Deer families.
“I just saw a need in the community. Parks are built all the time. Why can’t I create a change for this family?”