Kosair Grant provides handicap-accessible playground equipment at TCPC

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By Zac Oakes


Playground time is essential for young students. 

At Taylor County Primary Center, first-grade teacher Brooke Downey and speech-language pathologist Erin Whitlock recently teamed up to make sure the playground was more inclusive for students with disabilities. 

The two collaboratively wrote a grant and were awarded nearly $6,000 that was used to purchase handicap-accessible playground equipment for the school’s playground. 

Now, the growing playground at TCPC has a swing set with two handicap-accessible seats. 

The grant couldn’t have been possible without the help of the Adair-Taylor County Shriners, according to Downey. 

“We really want to give a special thanks to Robert Flowers (an Adair County Shriner and Kosair Charities board member), Steven Baker, and the Adair-Taylor County Shriners Organization for their support,” she said. 

Taylor County Primary Center currently serves around 600 students, with 110 of those being identified as children with exceptional needs, according to Downey. 

“Our goal is to continue to partner with Kosair Charities of Louisville to promote inclusion of all individuals through play with grant-funded projects,” Downey said. 

The school held a ribbon cutting to unveil the new playground equipment just a few days before the end of the school year, as well as letting a couple of students try out the new equipment for the first time. 

Kosair Charities committed more than $12 million last year to more than 100 different agencies and organizations in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. They frequently donate to non-profits, schools, and colleges/universities. 

TCPC first graders Colt Begley and Braelyn Underwood were the first to try out the swings, with several school and district officials in attendance. 

Colt’s mother, Holly Begley, said the new playground equipment will serve a great benefit for her son. 

“I am confident that Colt's overall education and therapies will benefit from the new swings,” Begley said. “He has always been motivated by vestibular input (swinging motion / swaying / movement in general). I am willing to bet that this new equipment can be used as a motivator for Colt to walk using his walker. It could also be used to calm him down from any over-stimulation he may feel during a school day, and act as a ‘reset’ for him to be able to refocus on a task inside the classroom.” 

Begley said that until recently, her son did not have any playground equipment he could safely play on. Now, she said, her son will be able to play outside and she is thankful that Downey and Whitlock devoted their time and resources to make her son’s experience at school even better. 

“It is very important to our family that Colt have appropriate playground equipment that he can use at school,” Begley said. “Until recently, there wasn't anything outside that he could safely take part in, and I'm so grateful for Mrs. Downey and Mrs. Whitlock for spending their own time to work so hard to get the funding for the swings. Now, when his classroom is outside playing, I know that Colt will be able to happily participate, too.”