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Playgrounds are a pivotal place for children to develop social, physical, emotional and cognitive skills. They’re also a place where kids can get out some energy – a win for both them and their parents. As many of our parents know, it’s tough to find an inclusive playground that meets their kid’s adaptive needs. We are proud to financially support LuBird’s Light Foundation in changing that.

Since 2017, LuBird’s Light Foundation has worked towards building the first adaptive playground, in the Denver-Aurora area, that’s inclusive of kids with specific physical and sensory needs. LuBird’s raised $700,000 in funds and after being approved building permits began construction in September. LuBird’s hopes to open the playground to the public in the next few months.

Stanley Marketplace and the City of Aurora donated 9,000 square feet of outdoor space for the foundation’s playground to be constructed on. According to LuBird’s website they,

“…selected this location because of the community-focused mission of Stanley Marketplace, its proximity to Denver Metro’s pediatric hospitals and its location between two diverse neighborhoods.” The playground will include supported swings, along with other handicapped accessible play equipment such as slides, spinners, smooth barrier-free servicing and even musical sensory play equipment.

A plan of what the park will look like, taken from LuBird‘s website

Juliet Dawkins, the Executive Director and Founder of LuBird’s, named the foundation in honor of her daughter Lucia, whose nickname is LuBird. Lucia was born with Pallister Killian Syndrome (PKS), a rare genetic condition which affects her whole body.

Dawkins quickly noticed how Lucia was unable to play with her siblings on the playground because the equipment wasn’t accessible due to her physical limitations.

When the family stumbled up on a supported swing, they placed Lucia in, and she lit up with joy. It became her favorite thing to do and remains so to this day.

The Dawkins family began donating supported swings to Denver Parks to bring the same light to other exceptional children. These swings can be found at City Park, Cheeseman Park, Congress Park and Central Park in Stapleton, to name a few.

After visiting an inclusive playground in New Mexico for the first time, they realized the potential to go beyond just supported swings. They wanted to bring a playground like it to Denver.

Several professionals in landscaping, therapy and inclusive playgrounds, and others in the I/DD community teamed up to conceptualize and build the first fully inclusive playground in the Denver-Aurora metro area.

Their hope is for all playgrounds in the future to be inclusive playgrounds. They’re currently working towards donating at least one supported swing to every park in and around Denver.

LuBird’s Light Foundation was established to build inclusive playgrounds for children of all needs and support children with rare disabilities. Learn more about the project at lubirdslight.org.