When she was nine years old, Rachel Ritchie noticed that children with disabilities were unable to join others on traditional playground equipment. Rachel enlisted the help of her church, Vine Grove United Methodist, and raised $100,000 over five years to build Rachel's Fun for Everyone Playground. She also solicited donations of labor and land for a total project worth 500,000 dollars.
Rachel was featured on The United Methodist Church Facebook page as part of summer 2017's #AmazingUMCKids campaign.
(Locator: Vine Grove, KY)
Rachel Ritchie, Vine Grove United Methodist Church: “My name is Rachel Ritchie and this is Rachel’s Fun For Everyone Playground, and it is a playground that has been specially designed for everyone of all abilities to be able to come together and play alongside each other.
Whenever I was 9 years old, I saw children not being able to play on a playground because they were disabled and I thought that wasn’t fair. Why should they have to sit out whenever I can play on a playground?
We wanted to make sure that there was at least one piece of equipment that no matter your ability, you would enjoy and you would have fun on. So we went back to the drawing board quite a few times because we wanted to make sure we had it perfect.
How do you thank the people that have made this possible? How do you thank the community? How do you put it into words? I personally, I can’t.”
The Rev. Dan Paddack: “The congregation has done a lot of different small- to medium-sized fundraisers to be of help. Actually, probably almost a dozen or more of those fundraisers the last three or four years, and then individuals also have made contributions. But it really is a collective of just so many people coming together to make this possible.”
Rachel Ritchie: “It’s kind of surreal. It’s like something that you’ve worked so hard for and something that you’ve dreamed about for so long. Now I’m sitting on it, I can go and run on it. In the next couple of weeks there will be kids on it, just playing. Together. Everyone. To me, that’s just amazing.”
This video was first posted on August 28, 2017.