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Slate Creek Elementary launches fundraising for inclusive playground 
Posted 1/23/23

Slate Creek Elementary PTO along with the Central Kansas Community Foundation announce the launch of “All Together Now,” a fundraising campaign for an inclusive playground set that all students can play on with all classmates, regardless of abilities.

Slate Creek is home to the severely-multiply disabled (SMD) classroom for the entire Harvey County Special Education Cooperative, so, SMD students from Hesston and Halstead also attend school here from Kindergarten through 6th grade. SMD students may use mobility devices, such as a wheelchair. 

The inclusive playground would include pieces like a ramp for wheelchairs, a communication panel and music pieces. It comes with a price tag around $300,000, half of those costs would go to the equipment itself with the other half needed for ground cover and installation. Slate Creek students already have a head start on this amount.

In the spring of 2021, Slate Creek students raised $20,000 for inclusive equipment with no promises of physical prizes or trinkets. As a building, staff and students agreed to raise funds simply because it was the right thing to do. 

“The most exciting and motivating part of this project for me is building on the existing passion the kids have shown for making sure their classmates are included in recess fun. That inclusivity feels like a bedrock of strong humanity, to me, and that is one of the biggest hopes I have for my kids - that they will be able to consider what others need and put their energy toward helping,” parent leader Joanna Bjerum said.

The fundraising period kicks off with a family fun night on Friday, Feb. 3 at the Newton Rec Commission, 415 N. Poplar. From 5pm to 7pm, families can enjoy games, popcorn and ice cream and can bid on services donated by Slate Creek families and staff.

"The kids want to be able to play with everyone. We include everyone in our Family Groups, which consist of boys and girls from all grades and diversities. So, they want to play together outside on the playground too,” principal Tenae Alfaro said.

Slate Creek Elementary Accessibility Fund-All Together Now is a component fund of Newton Community Foundation, an affiliate of Central Kansas Community Foundation.

sample rendering of playground