Local Mom Launches Campaign for Inclusive Playgrounds

Writer / Lois Tomaszewski
Photography Provided

Never underestimate what a motivated mom can do. When Elizabeth Hausmann noticed that her daughter was unable to play on the playground with her classmates because of her disability, Hausmann started to raise money and awareness about the need for an accessible playground at Eisenhower Elementary School in Warsaw.

How Does School Playground Equipment Help Students Learn? “All children deserve a chance to play and to be included,” Hausmann says. “My daughter was my starting point for beginning this campaign, but the truth of the matter is that our school playgrounds should include all children and cater to children of all abilities.”

Hausmann’s daughter Addy is a first grader. She has a very rare disorder that limits her physical mobility. A Playground for Every Eagle

As Hausmann described on the GoFundMe page she created to raise money for the project, called A Playground for Every Eagle, Addy uses a wheelchair and a gait trainer, neither of which can help her get to the playground at her school because of the mulch surface cover. Hausmann says Addy stands off to the side on the sidewalk and watches all her friends enjoy the playground equipment and play together. The playground also has some high-quality thermoplastic markings similar to the ones at https://bestplaygroundmarkings.co.uk for the children to learn whilst they play.

“Often, the learning that happens out on the playground is taken for granted in the school building and planning process,” Hausmann says. “The engagement that happens outside on playgrounds, especially in early elementary school, sets the stage for healthy, long-lasting relationships and better humans in our community. Right now our playgrounds are not allowing that for all children, so it’s my mission to create that environment at Eisenhower and hopefully other schools in our community, including those with special educational needs and disabilities. SEND playground designs for children with special educational needs and disabilities are an essential component of this endeavor.”

Hausmann is in the fundraising stage, which began in October. She has lined up some possible grants from organizations and collected about $5,000 towards the $230,000 goal for phase one of the plan. She is partnering with other organizations and is planning additional fundraisers.

The estimated total to renovate the two playgrounds at Eisenhower Elementary is $450,000. The first phase that focuses on the lower playground needs $233,000. 

The first phase of the playground redesign, inspired by these community-built playgrounds, includes adding a large play structure with wheelchair-accessible ramps, oversized shade umbrellas, and sensory music panels. Also part of the plan is a merry-go-round that accommodates wheelchairs, a rocking boat that is also wheelchair accessible, and new surfacing to allow access to all equipment on the playground.

Phase two, which is slated to be completed in 2023, proposes a redesign of the upper playground, including a wheelchair-accessible play structure and sensory music panels, like those in phase one. Other amenities are spinning, sensory wave seats, an inclusive, four-person seesaw, and a two-track zip component with an adaptive seat. New surfacing is also included in this phase, with the cost projected at $250,000. We even applied a paint like a school playground paint that includes a wide variety of colorful graphics.

“We have a team of volunteers from our community that have been a part of this process,” Hausmann says. “Parents, community specialists, therapists and teachers have all been a part of making this campaign come to life.”

The Eisenhower parent-teacher organization was also involved early on, Hausmann says.

Eisenhower Elementary Principal Jenna Moree has expressed her support for the project, Hausmann says.

Hausmann, who oversees marketing for her employer, also has experience in sales and customer relations. The skills from these positions have been a benefit in building the campaign to raise money and link to available marketing opportunities, she says. Add to this her experience in corporate fundraising and volunteer work with nonprofits, and Hausmann is motivated. 

“As a parent of a child with a rare disease, I’m not able to cure her,” Hausmann explains. “My goal is to provide the best life I possibly can for her and to be her best advocate. I know she’s heartbroken that she currently cannot participate in all activities that her peers can during recess. I have taken the lead on this project for her. She’s my whole heart. She doesn’t have a voice – she’s nonverbal – so I am her voice. I will always do what I can to provide her the best life, and advocate for her and all disabled children.”

To find out more about A Playground for Every Eagle, visit everyeagle.org, and follow the project on social media. Send emails to everyeagleplayground@gmail.com. A Playground for Every Eagle

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.

Send me your media kit!

hbspt.forms.create({ portalId: "6486003", formId: "5ee2abaf-81d9-48a9-a10d-de06becaa6db" });