"It would change some kids lives just to get to play at a park, without being made fun of."
It’s no fun having to sit out at the playground and watch the other kids play. Just ask Rachel Ritchie, who at the age of 9, had the bright idea to design a playground that would serve all children—regardless of their abilities. The Vine Grove, Kentucky, student, became inspired after witnessing other kids with physical challenges not get the chance to be active and engaged on the playground.
"I thought it wasn’t fair," Ritchie told USA Today. "I was like, why should they have to sit out while me and my friends can play. I want to be friends with them. I want to play alongside them."
And thus, "Rachel’s Fun for Everyone Project," was born. Ritchie pitched her brainchild in February 2013 to city leaders, reading the letter below that spelled out her hope for all children to be able to play together without the fear of being teased.
In addition, she also raised more than $100,000, with the help of her community, to turn her dreams of building an inclusive, adaptive playground into reality. Nearly five years later, Ritchie finally cut the ribbon on August 26, 2017, at the new outdoor play area that stands ready to welcome kids—ages 5 to 12—of any and all capabilities.
"Whatever I go on to do in my career path, I want to continue to help people and make my world a better place," Ritchie, who is now 13, said.
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Judging by her courageousness and inventiveness when it came to this playground project, it seems like Ritchie is off to a great start on changing things for the better.