These 3 Innovations Have Brought Children Together and Changed Their Lives

We are all the same on the inside.

July 2nd is National Special Recreation for the Disabled Day. On this day, we celebrate the uniqueness of everyone. But, were not as different as you may think! As a child, your main goal is to have fun and make friends! Through Shane's Inspiration, Bench Buddy, and Morgan's Inspirational Island, they have created an inclusive environment for kids and changed their lives.

1. Shane Inspired This Playground For Everyone

When Scott William's son passed of spinal muscular atrophy, he wanted to honor his son's life in some way. Since he was told his son would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, Scott and Catherine Williams discovered that there were no truly accessible places for children with disabilities to play. With the help of the community, Tiffaney Harris, Scott, and Catherine Williams, built the first universally accepted playground in California. Besides creating a safe environment for kids, the playground has a day in each month to have buddies to participate in "play-time," an event that allows children to communicate with others, since it may be hard for some. Shane's Inspiration has opened the door for all kids to enjoy a safe and fun environment, as well as, create friendships with other kids.

2. This Buddy Bench Is Creating New Friendships

Being a kid can be hard at times, but 10-year-old Christian Bucks wants to help. When Christian's family was going to move to Germany, he did some research on the school he was going to be attending. He noticed the playground had a "Buddy Bench" or an inclusive bench for all children. When a child is lonely, they may sit on the bench, and other students know he or she wants company. Christian didn't end up moving, but he knew that all playgrounds needed this! Christian Bucks created the first Buddy Bench in the U.S, and has continuously helped kids of all ages create a fun, inclusive environment.

3. Morgan's Inspirational Island - An All-Accessible Waterpark From

On April 10th, 2010, the first-ever water park for special-needs individuals opened and it became the world's first all-inclusive water park. Morgan Hartman, a joyful young girl who smiles through all her challenges, is the inspiration to the project. In 2005, when Morgan's father Gordan Hartman saw that kids were apprehensive to play with Morgan, he and his wife Maggie were inspired to change that. They both wanted to create an environment where people with or without disabilities can come together and learn from each other. After Gordan Hartman sold his largely successful homebuilding and land development enterprise in 2005, he started the Gordan Hartman Foundation to help children and adults with special needs. Located in Texas, Morgan's Inspirational Island contains wheelchair-assessable rides, abilities to change the water temperature for sensitive riders, and fun-filled rides for all kids. Morgan's Inspirational Island has a welcoming atmosphere that allows children to have better understanding of each other.

Today, remember that we are more alike than dissimilar. It is important to be inclusive and friendly to all! Let's celebrate all types of people and help those who struggle. Happy Special Recreation Day for the Disabled!

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