No matter how old you are, you will always get a little excited seeing a swing set in your neighborhood park or school. Swings symbolize childhood memories and having a good time with friends. But sometimes it’s harder for some to use a playground than others.
Girl Scout Ambassador Rachel Lau dedicated her Gold Award project to making sure everyone could have a good time at the park by taking six months to raise money for the Plainfield Parks and Recreation team to buy ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)-friendly swings.
In an interview with the parks district, Lau explained why she chose the swings for her Gold Award project.
“I am a huge advocate for children with mental and physical disabilities. I researched the parks within Plainfield, Illinois and found that several were not designed to be safe for children with mental and physical disabilities,” said Lau. “For that reason, I [wanted] to modify a playground in Plainfield to make it handicap-friendly for children.”
The swings were also the most realistic and cost-efficient solution for this problem that she discovered in her community. The project is also very close to Lau’s heart because of a family friend who has Asperger’s syndrome.
“I was first inspired for my project when I noticed that a family friend, Holden, had trouble playing at public parks,” said Lau. “I often saw the heartbreak of his mom having to pull him off of the equipment.”
This project has made a significant impact in her community and she has truly seen the reward that comes with investing in a sustainable project.
“One of the most successful aspects of my project so far would be my fundraising efforts and finally being able to purchase the swings,” Lau said. “Watching all of my heard work come together was truly rewarding.”
“I hope that these swings will be sustainable for the future because they will stay permanently in their respective parks (Northwest Community Park and Renwick Park) so that children with any disability will be able to enjoy Plainfield parks, just like Holden,” said Lau.
The ADA swings are located at Bott Park, 24550 W. Renwick Rd., as well as Northwest Community Park, 127th St. Plainfield, thanks to Rachel’s fundraising and the Plainfield Park District.
To learn more about how you can earn your Gold Award, click here.