New grants bring Everyone’s Playground dream one step closer to reality

Published 8:12 pm Saturday, May 4, 2024

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The Surf Pediatric Foundation’s ambitious project, Everyone’s Playground, is advancing rapidly with crucial support from the Outer Banks Community Foundation (OBCF) and the Karl and Debby Daniels Family Fund.

Led by the Surf Pediatric Foundation, Everyone’s Playground aims to create an inclusive space at Kitty Hawk Elementary School (KHES) where children of all abilities can play freely. With an $800,000 goal, the grants from the OBCF Community Enrichment Grant program and the Daniels Family Fund’s additional contribution have significantly propelled the project forward.

Reflecting on the significance of community support, project leaders Kellie Flock and Macey Chovaz emphasize the impact of OBCF’s endorsement. “We’ve seen how generous people can be,” said Flock. “What started as a very daunting, overwhelming task is now something that we can 100% see being realistic.”

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Debby Daniels, inspired by her connection to KHES and her best friend Susan Gard Nelson, a retired Dare County social worker, felt compelled to support the cause. She shared, “I wanted to do something to honor my best friend. It will be a blessing for the kids when they get this done.”

The project organizers see the impact stretching far beyond Everyone’s Playground and lasting well beyond elementary school, by inspiring others, teaching empathy, and helping children become, as Flock put it, “better humans.”

“Knowing the organic interaction that’s going to happen on the playground with these young kids interacting with kids who are potentially different from them, that’s going to translate into interactions in their community and in their future lives,” said Chovaz.

Everyone’s Playground extends beyond KHES, offering a community park for visitors year-round. The project’s universal design ensures accessibility for all, fostering inclusivity and empathy among children.

Chris Sawin, president and CEO of OBCF, expressed enthusiasm for the project, stating, “Inclusivity is at the heart of what the Outer Banks Community Foundation stands for, and Everyone’s Playground is a perfect example of that.”

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