A Goshen High School student who wrote to the Parks and Recreation Department suggesting the construction of an all-inclusive playground received recognition by world-leading manufacturer of wheelchair vans and lifts BraunAbility for her advocacy for the disabled and special needs community.
Laura Elliott received the “Spirit of Ability” Award at a ceremony held Tuesday, December 18 at Goshen High School. Laura was presented with a trophy and a $10,000 check — a donation made to the Parks & Recreation Department to help fund the completion of the all-inclusive playground at Hay Park, 1414 Plymouth Ave.
“Thanks to the courage Laura displayed when she wrote her letter campaigning for this inclusive park, finally, in the spring of 2019, Hay Park will be the home of a place where everyone is welcome, regardless of ability,” Greg Kiser, vice president of consumer sales for BraunAbility, said.
Mayor Jeremy Stutsman announced at the ceremony that the City is looking to break ground of the new playground in the spring of 2019.
“We’re really excited about how this fundraising came together, but what was most exciting is that we had a great committee of people who helped us design this park,” Mayor Jeremy Stutsman said. “It was really exciting to see Laura was involved in the planning process and can now oversee the park being built along the way.”
Laura was praised by her family and teacher, who both worked with her to get her letter to the City back in early 2017.
“There are several students that care about others, but Laura has taken that care to a new level where she loves and wants to give to all regardless of what it takes,” Sean Smuts, Laura’s teacher, said. “She exhibits a concern and love that time and time again is truly selfless. This park is evidence of that.”
Rochelle Elliott, Laura’s mom, thanked BraunAbility and expressed how important it was for her daughter’s dream to become reality.
“Laura has such a caring and compassionate heart for people with life challenges,” she said. “She wants them to have the same opportunities to participate in every day play without limitations.”
About the award: The Ralph W. Braun Spirit of Ability Award is presented to individuals who emulate the qualities that BraunAbility founder Ralph Braun displayed: selflessness, compassion, and an unwavering dedication to do what is right for people in the disability community. The award is given at BraunAbility community events across the United States and Canada. For more information, please go to braunability.com/spirit-of-ability/.