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September 05, 2003 - Image 62

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-09-05

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Jacob Lucas, 3, enjoys the playground with his mom.

Opposite page, clockwise: Kim Rexin plays with
Nolan Waters, 6, of Wolverine Lake. Playground
co-chairs Sandy Nathan and Myrna Edgar. Jonathan
Cassar, 5, of Wixom, goes down the slide.



hen Sandy Nathan

accompanied families

with disabled kids to the

new All Kids Playground

in Waterford, she was delighted to

see a sister and brother, who had

never been able to play together,

ride the teeter-totter.

8 • sEPT I: NI 13 E I( 2 0 o 3 • S TV F. AT "1 . 11


The 5-year-old girl turned to Nathan, a co-chair for the play-
ground project, and said, "Now I can play with my brother."
Her 8-year-old brother suffers from cerebral palsy and is
severely handicapped.
This outcome was part of the goal of the National Council
of Jewish Women's Greater Detroit Section when it spent
$200,000 to build an accessible playground adjacent to the
Hess Hathaway Farm. Operated by the Waterford Parks and
Recreation Department, the playground includes ramps and
barrier-supported play equipment to allow children of all abil-
ities access to fun.
Inspired by a similar project in Long Island, N.Y., the local
NCJW chapter was looking for a way to spend "a large
bequest of money with no strings attached," says Judy
Rosenberg, a national NCJW board member and one of four
co-chairs for this playground.
"The Long Island effort was spearheaded by a woman
who lost a child at a young age," Rosenberg says. Had he
lived, the boy would've been severely impaired, and his
mother "wanted to do something in his memory. She realized
he would never have been able to play on a playground with
other kids."
One of the most expensive and important parts of the play-
ground was surfacing, Rosenberg says. Rubber surfacing
throughout enables wheelchair-bound kids or those with "bad
balance" a more sturdy posture.
The playground also features an enclosed slide with plexi-
glass windows and bridges between playscapes.
Building a playground that accommodates all kids is part of
the Jewish philosophy of tikkun olam, or repairing the world,
project co-chairs noted. Thus, it fits perfectly with the NCJW
motto, "to improve the quality of life for women, children
and families and strive to ensure individual rights and free-
doms for all," says Marsha Zucker, another co-chair.
"It will give all children an opportunity to play together,"
says Nathan. "It won't segregate children with handicaps.
That's a wonderful thing."
The All Kids Playground opened in April. It is located on
Williams Lake Road, south of Elizabeth Lake Road, and is
open to the public.

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