|PRSSA seeks support for Boundless Playground|
The UND Chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) has teamed up with the ARC Upper Valley, Grand Forks Park District, Grand Forks Sertoma Club, Grand Forks Public Health and many other community-based organizations in the effort to build a dream playground in the Grand Forks community for children and families with disabilities.
It's Ali Karpenko's dream to have a community playground that is accessible to children with disabilities. With the support of her friends, family and various community organizations, she is working to raise $200,000 for a new Boundless Playground to be constructed in Grand Forks in 2008. Boundless Playgrounds are tailor-made for the way children are naturally drawn to play. They are universally accessible so everyone can play side by side at his or her own highest level of ability.
Ali, an eighth grader at Schroeder Middle School in Grand Forks, was born with spina fifida. "I am very blessed, as I have a very mild case of it. Many of the problems I face are hidden to most, as I am very physically able. I did not begin the playground project for myself. I'm doing it for the kids like me who have a disability, but aren't as lucky as I am."
The Grand Forks Park District has donated land in Sertoma Park and will assist in the construction and on-going maintenance of the playground. Two local organizations, Grand Forks Sertoma Club and The Arc, Upper Valley have teamed up to assist Ali in her marketing and fundraising efforts, which will include soliciting donations from local residents and businesses. The project also has the support of Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown.
"I think every kid should be able to have fun and feel like they belong," says Ali. "It would be nice to have a place where kids with disabilities and their siblings could have fun together."
PRSSA will be the point of contact for the University to get involved with the fundraising and building of this playground. A community Jean's Day has been established for Dec. 14.
PRSSA chapter mission is to prepare our members for successful integration into the public relations industry through hands-on experience; to provide access to our national organization, internships, scholarships, contacts and other professional opportunities.
To review the information about the playground visit www.thearcuppervalley.org/html/playground.html. If you would like to get involved, please contact Shelle Michaels, PRSSA advisor or Courtney Olson, PRSSA president at PRSSA@und.edu or (701) 777-4116.