The Shelby Golden K Kiwanis Club is proposing an all-inclusive playground at the Whispering Woods Kiawanis Park at 11000 21 Mile Road in Shelby Township. The club is asking residents to vote for it online to receive a $25,000 grant toward the park through a contest that requires 10,000 votes and runs through May 29.

The Shelby Golden K Kiwanis Club is proposing an all-inclusive playground at the Whispering Woods Kiawanis Park at 11000 21 Mile Road in Shelby Township. The club is asking residents to vote for it online to receive a $25,000 grant toward the park through a contest that requires 10,000 votes and runs through May 29.

Rendering provided by Linda Heldt


Kiwanis Club asks community for votes for all-inclusive playground

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published May 20, 2019

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Shelby Golden K Kiwanis Club is looking to the community to help make an all-inclusive playground a reality at a local park in Shelby Township.

With the help of the community, the club hopes to build the all-inclusive park at Whispering Woods Kiwanis Park, located at 11000 21 Mile Road.

An all-inclusive park would allow children to be able to play at the park no matter their abilities.

The club, which is a volunteer organization that services the community through fundraising projects, started the idea through the Kids At Play Project, which was created in 2017 to raise awareness of and change the world for those with special needs.

The Kiwanis Club has partnered with the Daisy Project and many other groups to raise funds.

“Our main goal is to make life accessible for everybody,” said Maureen Kijek, a secretary at the Daisy Project.

The Daisy Project helps children with special needs and their families have the tools necessary to fully enjoy life.

With the all-inclusive park, all kids would be able to play together at the same park.

“All the kids of all abilities will be able to play together,” said Linda-Ann Heldt, a member of the Kiwanis Club.

The Kiwanis are looking for 10,000 votes from the community to help get them into the top 10 to be considered for a $25,000 grant to put toward building the park.

To help the club win the contest to potentially get the $25,000 toward the playground project, voters must visit the voting website and submit votes between now and May 29.

Voters can submit a vote every day, but the votes must be 24 hours apart.

The top 10 winners of the contest will be entered into a second phase of judging to be considered for the $25,000.

The Shelby Golden K Kiwanis Club currently has a fund with the Shelby Community Foundation to raise money for the project. For those who would like to directly donate, visit shelbycommu nityfoundation.org.

A charity boxing event will be held at 7 p.m. June 12 at the Palazzo Grande to raise money for the project through the Daisy Project. General admission costs $100.

“It’s just pretty nice that the community gets involved and tries to raise money, not just only our kids, but everybody — everybody with a disability,” said Maggie Woloszyk, the Daisy Project’s vice president.

In January, the club received a grant of $20,000 toward the park from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund, but the club will need more funds to make this all-inclusive park a reality.

According to the club, currently 4,000 kids with special needs are enrolled in the local school district. Also, there are currently no all-inclusive playgrounds in Shelby Township.

The club will find out if it makes the top 10 before June 15, and the money will become available in September.

The club will begin the playground build in October 2019 with phase one, which will include two pieces of equipment.

“This (is) the first piece we will be putting in, is the globe of motion. It’s actually over at the St. Clair Metropark right now, and a child that is in a wheelchair can actually slide into (the globe). Other kids climb the wires and everything, and then it spins. So this will be the first project. We have about $60,000 right now, and we’re also putting (in) a rubberized surface,” said Heldt.

Kiwanis International and Kiwanis Vision Partner Landscape Structures are working together to make the build possible.

According to their website, long-term goals are to add more pieces, such as the Rhapsody Outdoor Musical Instruments and Pulse Table Tennis, a wheelchair-accessible multisensory game.

During the Shelby Township Board of Trustees meeting May 7, the Daisy Project donated $4,500 to the Shelby Community Foundation and Kids At Play toward the project.

The playground project is planned to be completed in phases in five years. Heldt said they will also be sourcing out other forms of fundraising to build the park, such as commemorative bricks and other grants.

“We’re also going to be selling bricks for memorials in the playground,” said Heldt.

For more information or to vote, visit wwkidsatplay.com/vote.

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