To get the full scoop on our project, go here. To find out how you can help, go here.

Digital Scrapbooking Kit

I want to thank the designers at Stuff to Scrap. They have created this amazing digital scrapbooking kit, called Sunshine Playground....

.... as well as this incredible set of quick pages:

All proceeds will go to our cause, so any digital scrapbookers out there, now is your chance to get something nice for yourself and help out our cause. The kit is available at the STS store.

Thank you, STS!


Click here to make a secure, online donation via paypal.

If you would prefer to mail in a donation, please send to The No Child Left Out Project 2974 S 1000 W Syracuse, UT 84075. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Calling All Digital Scrappers

I put the article about the playground up on my digi-scrap blog, Scrappity {doo-dah}, a place where I put my digital creations from being on several digi designers' creative teams.....

It caught the attention of the designers from Stuff to Scrap and they have kindly decided to create a digital scrapbooking kit inspired by Chloe's Sunshine Playground, sell it, and donate the proceeds to our cause. How nice is that! The kit is going to be released in October and this is the palette....

Look familiar? It's in keeping with the colors from this blog, and I think it's so cute! So all you digi scrappers, keep your eyes peeled, and be sure to get in on the fun in October! I will, of course, keep you posted!

A giant thank you to STS for this amazing gift. =)

Newspaper Article

Syracuse resident to create new park
Mom will raise money to build the handicapped-accessible playground.
By Andrew Maddocks

The Salt Lake Tribune

Chloe Bennett truly loves to swing, her mother Tara says. The 2-year-old swoops back and forth, laughing and smiling, her eyes beaming.

But any swing without high back support is dangerous for Chloe, born with a form of cerebral palsy, she cannot support herself. So Chloe relies entirely on her mother at nonaccessible parks to move around, stay upright, or even lie down in the sandbox.

"Chloe's not sitting on the sidelines crying, but I am, internally," Bennett said.

There isn't a single handicapped accessible park within an hour of Bennett's Syracuse home. Not only does Chloe love swinging and playing, but Bennett says the therapy associated with play is a critical part of Chloe's physical development.

So last month, Bennett decided to bring a wheelchair-accessible park to Syracuse herself.

She presented the idea to Syracuse City Administrator Rodger Worthen and City Council earlier this month. Officials are supportive, especially since Bennett intends to start a nonprofit organization and raise $800,000 -- her estimated total cost for the park -- herself -.

"I think it could be a great thing for city," Worthen said.

An accessible park features rubber surfaces easier to roll over than wood chips and ramps to the top of playground features so children, whether handicapped or not, can participate.

In early meetings, two potential sites emerged for the 2-acre playground: plots of land near the new Syracuse Fire Department building and in Jensen Nature Park.

The fire station site would be close to medical emergency services, Worthen said, and guide out-of-town visitors straight through downtown. Jensen Nature Park's established popularity would bring in more non-handicapped children, Bennett said, an important part of the plan.

With the city council's ongoing support, she hopes to have the tentatively named Sunshine Park open in less than five years.

Direction for the project came from of an article about Zachary's Playground in Lake St. Louis, Mo. Natalie Blakemore coordinated the construction of an accessible park for her son Zachary. Blakemore happens to be Syracuse City Councilman Doug Peterson's cousin.

Bennett hopes to connect with Blakemore, and streamline the fundraising and construction process even more.

Facing the obvious challenge of starting a nonprofit and raising nearly a million dollars, Bennett says she will draw on her experience volunteering for the Make a Wish Foundation and from business classes at the University of Phoenix. Once the Syracuse park is complete, Bennett dreams of building an accessible park in every county in Utah.

For now she wants to make sure Chloe, and other children with physical handicaps, can play independently. Playgrounds are a right of passage, and Bennett sees no reason why any child should miss out.

In her eyes, it's only a matter of time before Chloe moves from her backyard swing to the playground. It's all part of a lifelong pledge Bennett made to her daughter -- anything is possible.

"We might have to get creative and work hard," Bennett said. "But she'll always be able to do whatever she wants."

Photo Shoot

Today a photographer from The Salt Lake Tribune came to our house to take photos of Chloe. They will be doing an article about Chloe and our plans for Sunshine Playground. Doesn't she look cute for her big debut!?!?!?....

The story is scheduled to run in next Thursday's paper as part of the 'Up Close' section. Be sure to watch for it!

City Council Presentation

Here is a recap of the slideshow I presented to the city council tonight:

Inspired by....

My daughter Chloe has a severe seizure disorder and cerebral palsy. She loves life and is a true joy! But when we go to playgrounds, she can only watch from the sidelines because most playgrounds do not offer play options that allow accessibility for Chloe’s wheelchair and physical needs. I realized that I need to take a stand for Chloe and the many special children like her who live in this area because all children deserve a place to play!

What is an accessible playground?....

Allows all children to play side-by-side and enjoy being children
Allows for wheelchair access: transfer stations, ramps, wider paths, stable surfaces, table play, ample space around equipment
Rubberized surfaces ideal for wheelchairs and walkers
Swings to accommodate children in wheelchairs and high-back swings for children with poor head control
Toys that promote balance
Tactile and auditory elements
Integrates sign language, Braille and pictures
Elements for teaching


For the children:

Having fun
Vestibular Therapy
Sensory Stimulation
A feeling of being ‘normal’
Integration and learning to accept differences

For Syracuse:

Positive press
Frequent visitors

Cost & Funding.....

Cost to build an accessible playground is approximately $800,000 for cost of landscape architect, labor & playground supplies
Seeking land to be donated by Syracuse City
In the process of creating Non-Profit Organization: The No child Left Out Project
Community Impact Fund
State and Federal grants (autism, special physical education, and others)
Donations from other NPO’s
Local fund-raising


Blog ( & blog promotion
Donation/paypal button on the blog
Press release about the project which will direct people to the blog for donations
Weekly stories on the blog of children and families who will benefit from the park
Determine location and place plaque ‘Future home of Sunshine Park’ along with flyers that will again direct people to the blog to make donations
Stories in local newspapers and magazines
Local news appearances

Desired Location....

Jensen Park

This is an existing park with many acres still available for use
Existing parking and amenities available
This is a place where many people come and will come to the new park. This will make the park a place for everyone instead of just a ‘special needs park.’ Being with all types of children is an important part of the park
Will revolve the theme of the accessible playground around the ‘nature’ theme

Thank you!....

After the presentation, one councilmember said his cousin developed an accessible playground in St Louis. He gave me her contact information so she can hold my hand through the process. Another councilmember said his brother and sister-in-law had built a playground in memory of their deceased child. He gave me their contact information so they could give me ideas with fund-raising, etc. They also told me there was another citizen who brought this idea to their attention last year, and they said they would give me her contact information so she can team up to help this come to fruition.

All in all, I felt like everything could not have gone better than it did! The next step is meeting with the councilmembers after they think about different options for the location. Will keep you posted!

Met With Roger Worthen

Today I met with the Syracuse City Manager, Roger Worthen to talk about my ideas for the playground. He seemed very supportive of the idea! I talked about my plans for the NPO, my funding and marketing strategies, and we went over a few possibilities for the location. I'd really like it to be at Jensen Park for several reasons. He said there is acreage available at Jensen Park, but wants me to present my idea in front of the city council and see what location might work best. I'm going to give a presentation at the city council meeting on July 14th.....

My Idea is Backed Up!

I've decided to spearhead the planning and fundraising for an accessible playground to be built in my city, Syracuse UT. This is HUGE. It would involve getting at least 2 acres donated by the city, and raising at least $800,000. I talked to the city manager today, and he said another citizen has brought this to their attention, and the city council backs up the idea, but the only thing that can do is donate the land - they have no extra funds to give.

Excuse me? Donate land? That's a BIG deal! Woo hoo! =)

We're meeting next Monday so I can go over my ideas and plans of how I'm going to raise the money. I have done loads of research about this, and I have some tricks up my sleeve to make this happen. It won't happen tomorrow or even next year. In fact, I have a goal to have the project completed within 5 years. That sounds like a long time, but it is a realistic goal.

About Our Project

A crucial part of childhood is socializing and playing with other children in a playground. Until now, Davis County children with disabilities (especially those in wheelchairs), have only been able to watch from the sidelines. Our project's mission is to change this, because all children deserve a place to play!

The 'No Child Left Out Project' is a Non-Profit Organization that is planning the dream of Syracuse's 'Sunshine Playground.' The playground will include features that will allow all children to play side-by-side and truly enjoy being children! To allow for wheelchair access, there will be transfer stations, ramps, wider paths, stable surfaces, table play, ample space around equipment, swings to accommodate children in wheelchairs, as well as auditory and tactile elements.

This is a video about the playground that inspired our project. We are partnering with Unlimited Play, who built this playground to streamline the process and ensure our end result is of the highest quality. This video is definitely worth a few minutes of your time....

UNLIMITED PLAY VIDEO from Ty Cobb on Vimeo.

Your donations will help turn this dream into a reality. If you are able to make a financial contribution, please click the button on the right sidebar, and you will be directed to paypal. If you would like to support the project in any other way, please contact Tara Bennett (Chloe's mom) at

Our project will not stop in Syracuse. Our ultimate goal is to get an accessible playground in every county of Utah.

Thank you to our amazing sponsors for supporting our efforts!

The Beginning

My neighbor and dear friend just dropped off this newspaper article for me to read. It touched me and I wanted to share it with you all....


Zachary's Playground lets all kids be kids
By Sharon Haddock
Mormon Times
Wednesday, May. 06, 2009

Standing in the middle of a playground in Lake St. Louis, Mo., in April 2007, Natalie Blakemore didn't know exactly where her son was for the first time since he was born.

And that made her cry.

Not because she was worried about his well-being, but because it meant 6-year-old Zachary was living in a normal child's world. He was playing with other children and experiencing a little bit of the delicious freedom that most children and their mothers take for granted.

People just don't realize how much a part playgrounds play in a child's life," Blakemore said.

"She was at an accessible playground in Washington, D.C., the first time she "watched him play like any other child."

"I said to my husband, 'Let's move here!' "

It was impractical to relocate to the East Coast, so Zachary's mother started on a journey that resulted in the creation of an accessible playground in Missouri. Cities across America are asking how to go about building one like it.

"Zachary's Playground" cost $800,000 and took 69 redesigns and four years to build.

"I still can't believe it's gone from my sitting at the kitchen table sketching to a reality," said Blakemore, a Brigham Young University graduate who had no idea when she gave birth to her son that he "inherited" a rare central nervous system disorder known as Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease.

The disorder is progressive and only boys who have it show symptoms, including a delay in motor skill development. It's so rare that the Blakemores' doctor didn't suspect or diagnose it until Zachary was 14 months old, despite the fact that he couldn't hold up his head or grab things.

At that point, the Blakemores were told their son would probably never roll over, sit up or stand, and would only live until about age 15.

Blakemore knew her son had serious problems when she tried to put him into an infant swing and he was too floppy for it.

"I went home just devastated," Blakemore said. "Here was something I thought we could do that he would enjoy and we couldn't even have that."

When her sister-in-law urged her to try the playground in Washington, D.C., she didn't expect anything much different.

But the surface was rubberized so Zachary could use his walker. It had a wheelchair ramp to the top of the tallest slide and panels at the bottom.

The other children playing there accepted Zachary instead of staring or pulling away from him.

The Blakemores considered building a backyard playground, but it would be too expensive and cut out the social interaction they wanted Zachary to enjoy. They realized what they needed was a community playground that their son and other challenged youngsters could use.

As a recreation management major, Blakemore had taken classes on special education. She also had experience fund-rasing for the Special Olympics in Provo.

"I was definitely prepared (by the Lord), but I was really naive," she said. "I called five different cities in St. Charles County and every city I called had land if I had money."

Blakemore started working, although it isn't in her nature to push or ask for favors.

"One day I surprised my husband when he came through the door when I said, 'So I have land!' I don't think he took me seriously before that."

Lake St. Louis, which is about 50 miles west of St. Louis, had 16.9 acres to offer. The Development Disability Resource Board for St. Charles County kicked in $205,000. The local high school raised $25,000, the community held golf tournaments and hamburger events, and Blakemore spoke to numerous groups.

She worked with equipment vendors to help them understand the needs of a child in a wheelchair. Mothers with autistic children asked that she include fencing. Parents of children with cochlear implants asked for some tweaking to protect their kids.

LDS missionaries and the Young Women in the O'Fallon Ward, where Blakemore is Young Women president, helped on various building projects. The St. Louis North Stake held a "Make A Difference Day" dedicated to finishing the park.

Today, the Blakemores have a non-profit organization known as Unlimited Play, and the Hawk Ridge Park at 8392 Orf Road is a source of community pride.

It includes slides, swings, climbing apparatus and a spray area with fountains.

The Blakemores are being awarded the Inclusion Award from the Missouri Disabilities Council -- and Zachary is a star.

"He knows it," said his mother. "Someone will ask him why he's a star and he'll say 'because I have a playground.' "

Blakemore is talking with several other cities that want playgrounds like Zachary's, and a new city councilman ran on the promise that he'd bring Zachary's Playground to O'Fallon, where the Blakemores live.

"(Zachary) loves it," Blakemore said. "He can drive around all over. It's the one place where he has that freedom every child needs to have. Just having him have that little chance to be like other children, it's priceless for a mom."


After reading the article, I was determined to raise my own $800,000 and build a playground for Chloe and other special needs kiddos in our area. I googled 'accessible playground Utah' and found there are a few playgrounds similar to Zachary's playground in Utah, but none within an hour of where I live. Looks like I'm on another mission!

Other special needs parents, if you don't know where they are already, google and find the accessible playgrounds in your area. What a wonderful place to take your child to feel that 'delicious freedom' and it would also be a great way to meet other parents!