VERY INCLUSIVE PLAY PLAYGROUNDS
LAUNCHES IN CANADA
· Non-profit Organization Aims to Build Universally Accessible & All-Inclusive Playgrounds
· Partners with Award Winning Non-Profit Organization Unlimited Play
· Led by Canadian Hockey Broadcaster John Bartlett
November 4, 2021 – It’s a game changing day for playgrounds in Canada. Canadian Hockey Broadcaster, John Bartlett, is proud to announce the official launch of Very Inclusive Play Playgrounds. V.I.P. Playgrounds is a non-profit organization that helps to plan, design and build fully accessible and truly all-inclusive playgrounds. These playgrounds allow all children to play together — regardless of their abilities. They provide communities with a safe place to promote dignity, understanding and respect among children and adults, while educating the public about what inclusion truly looks like.
V.I.P. Playgrounds was formed by its President, hockey broadcaster John Bartlett, who created the mission to change the way communities think about playgrounds across the country.
“The launch of V.I.P. Playgrounds is the start of a movement across Canada,” Bartlett said. “Our goal is to build incredible, engaging, all-inclusive playgrounds. In doing so, we will educate communities on the benefits of parallel play and what a playground with no barriers means to children, families, parents and caregivers.”
V.I.P. Playgrounds has partnered with the award-winning non-profit, Unlimited Play, an organization in the United States that was founded in 2003. Natalie Mackay created Unlimited Play while building Zachary’s Playground for her son. Since then, Unlimited Play has built more than 40 playgrounds and counting, in 14 different states.
“We are thrilled to partner with John and V.I.P. Playgrounds,” Mackay said. “We know from experience how life-changing inclusive playgrounds can be for the families they serve.”
“Having such a great partnership offers the knowledge and education tools Unlimited Play has from their years of building playgrounds,” Bartlett said. “Being able to work alongside Natalie and Jim, the Project Manager, is very special. You feel their passion, and it’s contagious. We look forward to helping each other with future projects on both sides of the border.”
Work on the first major project for Very Inclusive Playgrounds is well underway, and will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Our first project is very exciting,” Bartlett said. “We can’t wait to present it publicly. It is certainly something special.”
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ABOUT VERY INCLUSIVE PLAY PLAYGROUNDS
The organization's mission is to help plan, design and build fully accessible and all-inclusive playgrounds in communities across Canada, which will allow all children, regardless of their abilities, to play together. We also aim to increase education about the importance of fully accessible and inclusive play, which in turn increases the well-being of all members of the community. In doing so, this will allow children with disabilities the right to play, and also parents and caregivers with disabilities, the access to play alongside the child. In raising funds for these all-inclusive and accessible playgrounds to be built, it will raise awareness and understanding in communities across Canada.
· Follow VIP Playgrounds on Twitter & Instagram: @VIPplaygrounds
· Website: www.VIPplaygrounds.ca
ABOUT UNLIMITED PLAY
Unlimited Play is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which was inspired by a three-year-old boy named Zachary Blakemore. Zachary was born with a rare genetic condition, Pelizaeus Merzbacher Disease, affecting his central nervous system and confining him to a wheelchair or assistive walking device. But like all children, Zachary loved to play.
When Zachary’s mom, Natalie, would take him to the park to play, the playground would only emphasize his limitations. Even more frustrating was the fact that the playground’s barriers that stopped him from playing also prevented him from interacting with other children. But after visiting an accessible playground while on vacation, Zachary’s parents began to dream of creating an accessible playground in their hometown — and of the day when playgrounds like this would exist for children everywhere. In 2003, Zachary’s parents teamed up with his pediatric speech therapist to build Zachary’s Playground, and Unlimited Play was born.
· Follow Unlimited Play on Twitter & Instagram: @UPplaygrounds
· Website: www.unlimitedplay.org
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