The View from the Playground…Inclusion in Ecuador
On Friday, November 22, we had the incredible honor of marking the grand opening of the very first inclusive playground in Ecuador!
The City of Cuenca’s Mayor Paúl Granda López and his wife Gabriela Velez, along with former Vice President Lenin Moreno’s wife Rocio Gonzalez, celebrated side-by-side with hundreds of children of all abilities…some of whom experienced swinging and integrated play for the very first time in their lives.
Among those also celebrating this landmark playground were: Pat Faust, President of Landscape Structures, Jane Jenewein, Strategic Alliance Manager of Landscape Structures, Tiffany Harris, Co-Founder & CEO of Shane’s Inspiration, Brad Thornton, Director of Project Development at Shane’s Inspiration, and Marnie Norris, Director of Programs at Shane’s Inspiration.
The City embraced this fully-inclusive play space, which was originally inspired by the former Vice President’s office. On a deeper level, they embraced the core inspiration behind these play spaces: the knowledge that all children and adults deserve to participate in the life of their community.
Days prior to this amazing event, Shane’s Inspiration trained over 80 student teachers from the Universidad del Azuay.
They explored the concepts of social inclusion, play facilitation, and building connections between children with and without disabilities. Those students led the charge at the grand opening, engaging with and supporting the children as they played.
While there, we also demonstrated our education program for the City of Cuenca with 25 wonderful 8-year-old students at the Andes School. In the next two weeks, they will partner with students with disabilities to inaugurate the new playground with the first integrated field trip!
Shane’s Inspiration was honored to work with an amazing team of people that include: former Vice President Lenin Moreno, Dr. Alex Camacho Vásconez –General Secretary of SETEDIS, Isabel Maldonado Vasco, Melita Vega with the City of Cuenca’s Accion Social Municipal, Andrea Costales, and Andres Sevilla, among many others who built the playground.
From Los Angeles to Cuenca…it has been a powerful journey that is inspiring inclusion across the globe. Next stop on our world tour…Sochi, Russia. Stay tuned!
The View from the Playground: Lourdes At Bat!
Shane’s Inspiration was honored on Sunday, August 5, by the 2012 Go To Bat Awards by State Farm and the LA Dodgers. We invited a few friends to join us at the Dodgers Stadium to accept the award, including Lourdes who attended her first ball game that day!
“Shane’s inspiration invited me to represent them at the Dodgers Stadium to receive an award on their behalf. It was my first baseball game. They took me and other friends to the field, which was very big. The stadium was huge with lots of people and a giganitc screen. And when we got to hand over the bat for Shane’s I saw myself on the BIG Screen! My mom was taking pictures and cheering for me. I felt really excited, and I will share this memory with my friends at school (if they believe me). After all not every kid gets to be on the big screen on their first game”
The View from the Playground: Inclusive Playground Magazine Launch
Inspiring Play Magazine (http://inspiringplay.com/) is a free online magazine for families, educators, corporations, communities and municipalities who embrace inclusive play for children and adults of all abilities. It is vital that families and communities share stories of inspiration in order to work toward a common goal.
The magazine features inspiring stories, educational articles, activities and a forum for children in which they can express and share their inspirations - helping other children in other communities find connection.
Inspiring Play is a Joint Venture with Shane’s Inspiration and NGI Publishing: www.ngipublishing.com