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December 31

LEO’s Haven/Shane’s Inspiration

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Organization Mission

The mission of Shane’s Inspiration is to create inclusive playgrounds and programs that integrate children of all abilities, fostering acceptance, friendship and understanding.

The Big Idea:
Leo’s Haven, an Inclusive Playground

A playground is a child’s creative classroom. It is where one learns to negotiate, share, communicate; strengthens one’s imagination and muscles; and learns to trust oneself and others. While we would never deny a child entrance into a classroom, children with disabilities are routinely prevented from entering life’s classroom: the playground.

Shane’s Inspiration is working with the Santa Cruz Playground Project and the County of Santa Cruz to design, fundraise and build our County’s first inclusive playground: LEO’s Haven at Chanticleer Park. The capital campaign includes funding the inclusive playground, restrooms, and a parking area. Even today, with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines in place, most playgrounds only provide an accessible path from the parking lot to an inaccessible play structure that is usually surrounded by also-inaccessible sand or wood chips.

An inclusive playground will dissolve barriers that divide our children and provide the opportunity to prevent bias from taking root at an early age while fostering respect, friendship and understanding. LEO’s Haven will be a permanent legacy of compassion and inclusion in our community.

I think LEO’s Haven is a genius idea because finally kids will be able to play with everyone else and not feel left out.

— Brenda Gutierrez-Baeza, Watsonville, CA