APRIL 21, 2021

A specially designed ADA Compliant Comfort Station/Rest Room will soon be added to the grounds of Everyone’s Playground, the recently constructed handicapped safe play area for those with special needs and other disabilities and cognitive challenges. A community wide fund drive to raise the $80,000 cost was launched at an event held at the site of the soon to be facility. Everyone’s Playground is a 15 piece recreational area that was conceived and developed by the Andy Russell Charitable Foundation and the East Snyder Regional Recreation Association in 2019 with $500,000 raised for its construction.

Christa Lese Martin, Interim Chief Scientific Officer, Geisinger Director, Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute, in commenting about the need for the addition of the Comfort Station said “… the playground offers something incredibly special to families of children with special developmental needs and has also become a resource for relaxation for adults with disabilities. Adding an accessible ADA designed restroom facility available to those who visit the playground would allow families longer periods of time to enjoy the playground without the worry about where to find comfort stations. Everyone’s Playground has been an overwhelmingly welcome resource for our community and beyond and adding an accessible restroom will only make the playground more attractive to the families who use it.”

The fund drive will once again be coordinated by Fritz M. Heinemann, President, Andy Russell Charitable Foundation, Central PA Region. “As with the campaign for Everyone’s Playground this funding endeavor is a community labor of love driven entirely by volunteers. There are no salaries or commissions being paid and all personal expenses are absorbed by those engaged in the fund drive. Andy and Cindy are adamant that all donations and contributions go directly to the Comfort Station project and we’re proud of their commitment and we adhere strictly to that mandate” Heinemann noted.

In her comments, Simona Napoli Lovik, Russell Foundation Advisory Council Chair, emphasized that the playground itself has had an astonishing impact not only throughout the Selinsgrove area but surrounding communities as well. “In a very short period of time the use of Everyone’s Playground is accelerating beyond anything we originally anticipated. Adding a comfort station will add another quality component and provide a necessary family friendly amenity that will be safe, daily inspected, and hygienic.”

John Fischer, Advisory Council Member,  also announced that 14 “buddy benches” will also be placed throughout the playground area especially in the grove of flowering trees planted at the entrance to the playground site. “Additionally sensory play panels that provide innovative sensory experiences insuring that children of all abilities enjoy exciting and challenging fun while engaging their senses, thus further supporting their overall development. These sensory panels help to enhance cognitive, motor, emotional, social, language skills and the perception of touch while they play and explore new sights and sounds.”

In closing comments Mark Monaghan, President of Murray Motors, emphasized that adding a comfort station to the grounds of the playground will help enrich the overall experiences of those visiting and alleviate frustrations for all persons. “With all the other amenities the playground provides, having a private, enclosed space that is easily accessible, where parents and caretakers can promote a healthy lifestyle for all life stages, all level of abilities and at the same time encourage diversity, inclusion and help reduce the exposure to unknown health risks is a sound and reasonable initiative and one in which Advisory Council members are proud to be involved.”

IN PHOTO, L-R: Jennifer Straib, mother of 9 year old Emma Straib, frequent visitor to Everyone’s Playground; John B. Fischer and Mark Monaghan, President, Murray Motors, both members of the Andy Russell Charitable Foundation Central PA Advisory Council, Emma Straib and Simona Napoli Lovik, Owner/Manager of the local DQ Grill and Chill and Chair of the Andy Russell Central PA Charitable Foundation Advisory Council.