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Inclusive school playground project needs donations

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News from the Greater Polson Community Foundation

POLSON — The Polson School District has a wonderful, little-known program that has existed for over 20 years. 

This special needs preschool program for three- and four-year-old children is overseen by an incredibly dedicated, committed staff that has been led by one teacher, Bonnie Petersen, for the previous 17 years.

After having long recognized the need for an all-inclusive playground in the Polson community where autistic, physically disabled and other children with various challenges can play, the special needs preschool staff at Cherry Valley Elementary School decided to undertake the enormous job of building a playground that would include, as an example, pieces of equipment aimed at serving sensory needs. A wheelchair-friendly ground cover will also be installed.

For nearly 12 months, grants have been written and donation requests made to make this playground become a reality. The Greater Polson Community Foundation grant award led the way locally, followed by several large foundation awards from around the state. Currently, several local foundations, businesses and generous individuals have contributed. 

Others are now being offered the opportunity to donate toward this much-needed worthwhile project. It is believed that this inclusive playground will be the first of its kind in Lake County and on the reservation. 

About 86 percent of the needed funds have been received, and the playground is slated to be installed this June. The playground will be open to local residents, visitors and tourists. If you wish to donate or if you have questions, please call John at 406-249-6368. 

The project description, playground budget, tax exempt letters and community letters of support are all available upon request. People can also make a tax deductible contribution to this project by mailing a check to the GPCF, PO Box 314, Polson, MT 59860 (please denote gift to I-SPIN project).

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