Local/State

New playing field for special needs children in Cherry Hill

Saturday, June 22, 2013

With a quick snip, Boundless Field at Challenge Grove Park in Cherry Hill officially opened to children of all abilities.

"The main purpose is it's adaptable for wheelchairs, walkers and also for kids who may stumble when they walk," said Edward McDonnell, Deputy Director for Camden county Board of Freeholders.

On this 13,000 square foot field, everybody wins.

"It's great to get her outside and doing things just like any kid and get off the couch," said Chris West.

West's daughter Abigail has Cerebral Palsy. He says the biggest challenge she faces is finding opportunities to play like any other kid.

The Boundless Field uses the buddy system. Family members or volunteers team up with children who may need a hand hitting or rounding the bases.

"This will allow every kid to understand what every other kid is going through," said Jim Cummings, Build Jake's Place.

"I can't go out and have a catch with him or throw a football and it gives us the opportunity to do things like that," said Dave Stratton.

While the field is permanently designed for baseball, organizers say they'll use tape to set up a volleyball court or soccer field, as needed.

"We want schools for disabled to have field days here and picnics," said McDonnell.

Jake's Place playground sits right next door.

The jungle gym specially designed for all children was built in 2011 in honor of 2-year-old Jake Nasto. He could've used these accommodations but he died in 2007 of a rare heart condition.

"Every smile is our tribute to him and our memory of him," said Lynn Cummings, Jake's nana.

There is at least one more project in the works at Challenge Grove Park. Officials plan to resurface the basketball court and install adjustable baskets so children of all abilities can shoot hoops with their friends.

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Tags:
new jersey, cherry hill, children, local/state, jennifer joyce
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