The Calgary Children̵7;s Foundation’s annual Resolution Day is this Friday, December 2. Once again, the Radiothon will be broadcast live 770 CHQR And listeners can call in to donate.
Funds raised are channeled throughout the community to worthy groups dedicated to enriching the lives of children.
One of those groups is Variety the Children’s charity which focuses on building accessible playgrounds.
Global News recently visited a playground in Okotok. It has ramps, catwalks, a merry-go-round built seamlessly into the ground, and special rubberized floors.
Calgarians support $177k children’s charity on Pledge Day 2021
Larry Horsey of Variety said, “It couldn’t happen without Pledge Day and the donors.” He said that this type of construction could cost $500,000 or more. Fundraising carries a huge price tag on parents – which takes years to complete.
Okotok Playground began because of a friendship between two youths, Gabby Wildman and Bentley Alwood. The two met in kindergarten.
“It’s hard to see my best friend not being allowed to play and join in with everyone else,” Wildman said. She is referring to Alwood who uses a wheelchair. “So I wanted to do something.”
The two were reunited with their families and fundraising began.
Even though the families raised enough money to build part of the playground in stages, it was never enough. Not to mention the additional $250,000 spent just to build the rubber floor, which they quickly realized was vital to making it truly accessible.
“The challenge was that once they got to this playground, they realized that the kids really couldn’t maneuver on the surfacing,” Horsey said.
That’s when Variety stepped in with community partners, including funds from the Calgary Children’s Foundation. Finally, the playground can be made the way it was always meant to be, and all the kids can enjoy it.
Children like Vaida Bade. A Class VI student uses a walker to help her move around.
“It makes me happy because I can walk there and come back without any hassle,” she said.
Completing the playing field is worthwhile work. This has changed the lives of many children in Okotok who no longer have to watch others having fun from the sidelines. No one is excluded.
Okotok is one of many neighborhoods desperate for such a place.
“These communities, they’re reaching out to us everywhere and they need your help,” said Horsey, hoping that showcasing this playground will inspire others to donate on Pledge Day.
To donate, you can call the station on Friday, December 2, or visit the Calgary Children’s Foundation website.
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