Augusta At Play looking for space to succeed
“We are surrounded by incredible natural recreation locations that promote physical and emotional well being,” said Theresa Dowds-Adams, PhD, the founder of Augusta At Play. “We also have amazing resources in the community for citizens with all types of disabilities. We want to help Augusta County become the example of how those two things can align by establishing a destination inclusive park in the area.”
Over the past few years, while working with various educators and administrators in the county school system, Adams was inspired by the commitment to providing inclusive settings for all students. Stemming from that experience, discussions began regarding the playgrounds at the various schools and how many of them, while ADA-compliant, are not necessarily embracing for everyone in the current student population.
“This is a pressing situation since we are making huge strides in mainstreaming children with disabilities into the educational system, which is a great thing. However, we are falling behind in providing that same type of mainstreaming for the child’s preferred learning environment – the playground,” said Jessi Barnes, a landscape architect and Augusta At Play board member.
“Augusta At Play is going to bridge that gap by providing inclusive play spaces and programs to support our schools’ efforts to help guide children on interacting with each other so that they can learn how to develop meaningful and valuable relationships across all abilities. We also believe that Augusta Country has the potential to be the most inclusive community in the region and we want to provide a community-centered facility,” Barnes said.
Augusta At Play is also looking to provide similar capabilities to the entire community.
“The need to play and have an active lifestyle continues at any age and any given disability. In addition, anyone can be affected at any age by a debilitating injury or life impacting disease and we want to make sure that Augusta County has a welcoming place where everyone can enjoy time together and build community bonds without barriers,” Adams said.
The Augusta At Play inclusive park and playground looks to feature accessible play equipment, sensory play, and opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to engage with and learn from each other. So that it a valued asset to the local community, Augusta At Play welcomes input on the park’s design and location, as well as for any interested donors and sponsors to contact them directly with ideas and support.
Contact Augusta At Play at firstname.lastname@example.org or (540) 255-0462.