Natasha Abelman and nine-year-old daughter Mayah are fundraising with their school to get wheelchair-accessible features added to Evans elementary's playground. The school's playground committee is hoping to win an Aviva Community Fund grant. To vote go to www.vote4evans.com.

Natasha Abelman and nine-year-old daughter Mayah are fundraising with their school to get wheelchair-accessible features added to Evans elementary's playground. The school's playground committee is hoping to win an Aviva Community Fund grant. To vote go to www.vote4evans.com.

Final push for inclusive playground

Voting for the Evans elementary playground is from Dec. to Dec. 11.

Minimal effort is not an option when it comes to getting a new, all-inclusive, playground at Evans elementary.

Since advancing to the semi final round of the Aviva Community Fund contest last month, parents at the school have been working day and night doing everything they can to get the exposure they need for a win.

They’ve approached media, businesses, politicians, have been visible at community venues, including Chilliwack Chiefs games and a float in the upcoming Christmas parade, and their cause will also soon be on display for all to see at various shopping plazas throughout the city.

The goal: Get a city’s worth of votes every day for the two-week voting period.

“We had almost 7,000 votes [in the last round], we finished second in our category,” said parent Katrina Eng.

Impressive, but the school wants more.

“It would be better if we could get at least 1,000 votes a day,” said Eng.

The Aviva Community Fund is a Canadian contest that encourages Canadians to submit ideas promoting positive change in their respective communities. The contest includes two rounds of online public voting, and a final round judged by Aviva officials.

Thirty finalists will be selected, winning anywhere from $5,000 to $150,000.

For Evans, that money would go a long way in making play at the school, and the whole community, accessible to all.

Currently the school’s playground is not wheelchair accessible. It’s encased by a cement curb, has a wood chip surface in which tires spin out on, and the play facilities are not built to accommodate those with disabilities.

Out of 308 students, 16 have special needs, and four are mobility impaired.

Evans elementary has its eyes on a playground that would feature inclusive elements, including a bucket seat swing with a transfer point for wheelchairs and walkers; a bucket seat spinner, that would encourage vestibular sensory stimulation; monkey bars low enough that a child in a wheelchair could access on their own; and a dome that would provide a quiet space for over-stimulated children needing a break from the hustle and bustle of the playground.

The new playground will cost $99,840 – none of which will come from education funding. So far, the school’s Parents’ Advisory Council has raised $17,000.

“It’s so unfair that not all our kids can play together – in this day and age, how can we let this happen?” said Eng.

The second round of voting starts Dec.2 and goes to Dec. 11. Entries with the most votes get into the finals.

People can vote once a day every day.

To vote, go to www.vote4evans.com.

kbartel@theprogress.com

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