Disability affects approximately 12% of the U. S. population. Because parents, siblings, and grandparents are affected too, the number of people impacted by disability is nearly one third of the population.
The presence of disability affects EVERY area of life for these families, including home life, education, employment, relationships, and even recreation and community involvement. Community playgrounds that are welcoming to children with disabilities offer gathering places that everyone can enjoy, allowing youth with disabilities and their family members to play alongside friends and neighbors.
Old Meadows Park in Thousand Oaks houses the Therapeutic Recreation Unit of the Conejo Recreation and Park District, which provides recreation programming for Conejo Valley residents with disabilities. The existing special needs playground needs to be expanded and refurbished. Its increasing popularity and use is due to expanding awareness of its existence, its special features, the steady rise in the incidence of autism, and its location’s unique support to special populations.
Currently, there is opportunity to increase the square footage of the playground at Old Meadows Park. The Rotary Club of Thousand Oaks Sunrise is spearheading the effort to improve, modernize and expand the playground. Through careful research and a survey of the special needs community, the Rotary DreamCatcher Playground will be designed with great sensitivity to the needs, comforts and inclusion of special populations and their families.
Working with the Conejo Recreation and Park District, the Rotary Club of Thousand Oaks Sunrise seeks financial support from the greater community for the development and construction of this disability-sensitive playground, which will incorporate unique features that cater to the special needs community. Each feature was selected or designed to communicate welcoming of special populations and an awareness of their journey. Our goal is to raise $500,000 through funding partners and fundraising activities, with the project completed in phases by 2016.