There are over 26,000 kids in Cuyahoga County with some sort of disability. Many of them are unable to play on their local playgrounds because of their challenges. Just because a place is wheelchair accessible does not make it a place that wheelchair bound children can play.
Preston’s H.O.P.E., a 60,000 square foot outdoor play facility was built so that disabled children and their friends and brothers and sisters can all play together. This open to the public facility in Beachwood, Ohio includes play equipment for children with a multitude of disabilities; wheelchair bound, as well as sight and hearing impaired.
There are slides with transfer decks so that children in wheelchairs can use the equipment. Broad ramps allow kids to navigate up high, something many have never had the opportunity to do before.
The park is also full of sound; train whistles, water and such so that sight impaired kids can independently make their way through the playground.
Hearing impaired children can play in the village houses, and still communicate with their family through the wide windows.
Preston Fisher, born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy inspired the creation of this playground. He sadly died December 12, 2008 during a surgical procedure at the Cleveland Clinic. He was only 11 years old.
He dreamt of being able to play with other kids. His family determined that other children in the area had the same hopes and dreams. They set out to raise money for this facility. Over $3,000,000 was raised and the park was open to the public. Disabled children can now have the opportunity to go up high, play, feel movement, experience the same things as their friends.
Located on the property of Mandel Jewish Community Center, Preston’s Hope is open to the public from 6 AM until 10 PM. Pavilions employ a first come first serve policy, they do not take reservations. It is recommended on their website, that if you bring a large group of 25 or more, a donation is suggested. Another important note, the restrooms are closed from November to April.
United Cerebral Palsy, The Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center, The March of Dimes, and Youth Challenge all support this beneficial facility.
Aside from the physical benefits of play, self esteem and social skills are nurtured while visiting Preston’s Hope. Kids can challenge themselves, use their imagination and show off their accomplishments. All normal behaviors for children and important to their development, but often hard to accomplish if not given some time for free play.
The Mandel JCC
26001 South Woodland Rd.
Beachwood, OH 44122
Preston’s Hope – http://www.prestonshope.com/need.htm
United Cerebral Palsy – http://www.ucpcleveland.org/home2.asp
The Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center – http://www.chsc.org/ME2/Default.asp