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Grandmother's dream fulfilled after inclusive playground opens in Grafton

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 19:21:46-04

GRAFTON, Wis. — Five years ago, this playground was simply a dream for two Wisconsin moms looking to create a space for all kids, no matter their disability, to come and play.

"This is something that’s needed and wanted in our community," said All My Friends Inc., president, Dianne Helmer

Helmer got the inspiration to build an inclusive playground in Grafton after her mom passed seven years ago.

"Before she passed away, she said I needed to help more of Cassie‘s friends. Cassie is my daughter with autism," said Helmer. "When she passed away, I took the initiative upon myself and my best friend Donna Howarth and said 'okay we need to honor mom‘s legacy.'"

That’s when the idea to build the All My Friends Playground was born. It has everything from wheelchair ramps, special swings, braille, and more. It has become a place where those with special needs can come and simply be a kid

"It is great for all ages with the ramps, and the multiple play-sets and swings, it’s accessible for everyone. We have all kinds of people throughout the city, so having a place where everybody can come and feel safe and have fun is really important," said Melissa Clark, a mom of two.

Now that the half a million-dollar project located at the corner of 17th and Grafton is officially complete, a ribbon-cutting will take place next Monday to thank those involved in helping Helmer's dream become a reality.

"I was able to accomplish my dream, which is a dream come true, which is to honor my mom’s wishes in her passing that I do something for Cassie’s friends and build something that children and families can enjoy and love," said Helmer.

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