Goldman Playscape- Making the Outdoors Accessible
The dream of a Playscape became a reality for the six young men and women who live at the Goldman House in Bedford, and their families. The Playscape offers the people who live at Goldman residence a beautiful outdoor area that is both fun and wheelchair accessible. Swing sets and a glider can be used by residents and their visiting family. Planting boxes customized at a raised height now allow residents in wheelchairs to cultivate plants and enjoy the rewards of their work. A covered picnic area providing a cool area for the residents to enjoy completes the space.
Through the creativity and resourcefulness of Liz Donaldson, manager of Goldman House, a benefit concert by Jon Moses and The Saw Mill River Band raised the initial funds to kick-off the project. A generous contribution of $17,000 by The Slater Jett Meyers Foundation enabled the purchase of all adaptive play equipment. Finally, through in-kind donations of construction materials and services from Richard Pugni and Sons along with the donation of flowers, herbs, trees, and shrubs contributed by Tom Williamson Landscaping, the project was complete.
The Goldman House Playscape is Richmond’s newest innovation to help maximize the abilities of the people it supports.
Apartments: A Home within a Home
With the support of private donors, we have created a welcoming apartment within our Yonkers residence. This “home within a home” promotes independence and peer interactions and enables people to experience the same rewards of group living as any other set of roommates who share living space. The new apartment is a quiet retreat for people who, with assistive technology devices, can turn lights on and off, play music, and use basic kitchen equipment to prepare snacks and simple meals, all in a private, family-like space.
Community Building, Recreational Enhancements
When Julius left camp after a week of summer fun, he cried profusely, and refused to get out of the van after the long drive home. He really wanted to go back to camp. He had had such a wonderful time – meeting new people, enjoying the freedom of gliding across the lake in a sailboat, and inhaling the fresh scent of a pine forest. We helped him through that adjustment we all hate (ending a good vacation) by promising him we would find the funds to send him back to camp the next summer. Donor dollars are enabling us to keep that promise. Our goal is to provide a week’s summer vacation or camp experience for as many individuals as possible each year. Truly, these are magical, transformative experiences.
Donor dollars also provide a way for the people we support to join a wide variety of activities other community members regularly enjoy – like outings to parks, pools, gyms, museums, movies, sporting events, concerts, school plays and restaurants. Donor gifts also make it possible for people to participate in programs that have therapeutic benefits and that have been adapted for people with developmental disabilities, like adaptive skiing, therapeutic horseback riding, community sports leagues or a dance class for people in wheelchairs.
The people we support enjoy playing on our adaptive pinball table, competing in video game contests, doing volunteer work, and meeting people and neighbors from the community.
After school, work or on weekends, the people we support look forward to art, music, movement and massage therapy sessions, haircuts and styling, and visiting with family and friends. These sessions never fail to elicit smiles. “The music therapist brings drums, feathers and many other props to stimulate and engage the senses,” according to director of recreation and volunteers, Elyse Allbee. “Everyone has so much fun,” she added. “Music therapy is one of the best things we do.”
MOVE™ began as a pilot program in 2002 thanks to the generosity of individuals and corporations in our community. But now, thanks to a successful application to new State’s program, Opportunities for People Through Services, MOVE™ will receive funds to support this program through 2010. MOVE™ is an innovative national program that teaches people with significant developmental disabilities to sit, stand and walk. This program greatly enhances a person’s ability to move on his or her own, through the use of adaptive equipment and intensive one-on-one instruction. We are proud to be a part of this national program which enhances people’s dignity as it improves the quality of life in such a significant way.
Donor contributions are at the heart of our community building and recreational enhancement programs.