Wendy Wary, president of 4 A Better Chandler, Inc., was ecstatic when her organization received an incredible donation of $10,000 from the Christian Science Society of Boonville Irrevocable Trust on Thursday, Nov. 10. But she never expected to get a whopping $17,000 from private donors just a few days later on Tuesday, Nov. 15 — the exact amount of money needed in order to begin phase one of the project.

The mission of 4 A Better Chandler, Inc., is to install an inclusive and accessible playground for children ages 2-5 with all different abilities at the Chandler Town Park. The project is broken up into three phases.

Phase one includes two bucket swings, low-maintenance safety surfacing, a fencing enclosure, adjacent seating for caregivers and upgrades to existing infrastructure to provide an accessible entryway to the playground area. Some other elements featured will be educational reinforcements through the alphabet and numbers, different musical instruments and other tactile and visual sensory stimulation.

Wary said when she and the rest of the 4 A Better Chandler, Inc., board first began planning the Be The Change Playground Project last summer, they had hoped they would be able to reach their $50,000 goal for phase one of the project so they could begin building in the summer of 2017. But she said with the new donations, they are now planning to build in spring.

“When we started fundraising in June, we thought it would be great if we could build this by next summer,” she said. “We never could have imagined we would have raised it in the next six months. We are thrilled that we met our goal better than we anticipated.”

Wary said even though they have the funds now to begin phase one, they want to wait until spring to build.

“It’s a little too late in the year to start building now,” she said. “We’re going to wait until the weather cooperates.”

Wary said her 5-year old son is incredibly excited about the project.

“He’s turning six this weekend, so he’s aging out of the group the equipment is meant for,” she said. “But he keeps asking me, ‘Mom when can I go play?’”

Wary said she wanted to thank all of the community members who have helped to spread the word about 4 A Better Chandler, Inc. and the Be The Change Playground Project.

“Everyone has been giving in every way, shape or form possible,” she said. “And for those who haven’t been able to give financially, they have helped to donate bottle caps for our picnic table. So it’s like everything coming together in all of these different ways.”

She said she also wanted to thank the private donors who made beginning phase one possible.

“They’re very focused on the needs of the community,” she said of the donors, who wish to remain anonymous, “and interested in helping children and hoping to help those less fortunate.”

Wary said she feels uncomfortable when people tell her congratulations for receiving the donations.

“I feel it’s not my place to accept that,” she said. “It’s not about me, it’s about the children and their needs.”

Wary said even though all of the money needed to begin phase one has been raised, they are going to continue their fundraising efforts for phase two.

The next event 4 A Better Chandler, Inc. is planning is a Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 7 to 9 a.m. at the Chandler Community Center and Sports Park.

There will be all-you-can-eat pancakes prepared by the Chandler Kiwanis Club. Meals are $5 when purchased in advance and $6 at the door. Children 12 and under can enjoy all you can eat pancakes, kids activities and a 5x7 photo with Santa for a $1 advanced purchase ticket or $2 at the door.

To buy tickets for Breakfast with Santa or learn more about 4 A Better Chandler Inc., visit http://www.4bcinc.org.

Marisa Patwa is a graduate of the University of Evansville with a degree in journalism and minor in political science.

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