The following are stories from parents and staff at Bridge View School:
Lisa Carrigan, Principal:
"As the new Principal of Bridge View school, one of the things that struck me was how the playground at Bridge View School was not adapted for students with disabilities. When I go outside to visit with students, it is heartbreaking to see that students do not have equipment they can access. It is my hope that through the efforts of the district, the community and family support, we can build a playground that children of “All Abilities” can access."
Laura Linn, Parent:
"I've been on the playground task force for over a year. I really want this for the kids and the staff of Bridge View. We had our twins four months early - they both weighed 20 ounces. Unfortunately one twin, Evan, had a brain bleed and for the first few years, it was a grieving process getting used to the less-than-typical life Evan would have. Evan entered the early childhood program and then went to Rondo and then to Bridge View. I felt so fortunate to live in St. Paul and have access to this one-of-a-kind school. The teachers and staff truly serve as a voice for Evan. They notice his demeanor and physical comfort better than we often can. They optimize every ability he has and truly appreciate his life, presence and the joy he brings with a very contagious laugh. Evan has had two hip surgeries and after the first surgery he was in a full body cast. I thought these were a figment of cartoons. It literally turned Evan into a plaster plank. But Bridge View has such expertise, that they were able to get him back into the classroom the second week after surgery, cast and all. I have three boys and the other two have their ongoing wish lists - Legos, scooters, light sabers and other random requests. But Evan never asks for anything. His needs are simple - they are tied to love and his physical well-being. My time with the playground team is one of the few ways I can give something to Evan. Bridge View's teachers and the school are huge support to his growth and development and a lifeline for me and so many other parents. The students, families and staff all deserve a space that inspires play and joy. Thanks for any help you can bring to spreading our story and helping with fundraising!"
Teresa Doll, Occupational Therapist:
"Play is the work of children. Movement stimulates the brain and encourages learning and sensory development across all areas. Hi, My name is Teresa Doll. I am an occupational therapist. I have worked at Bridge View School for 30 years. Our students deserve a motivating, adapted, playground to expand all of their senses and build gross and fine motor skills. Our students have unique needs and need a unique playground."
Syndy Walfoort, Teacher:
"I’m Syndy Walfoort and have been teaching students in Special Ed since 1991, which has sparked a passion for developing and obtaining teaching approaches and teaching materials to address the needs of the WHOLE child. Research shows that the development of gross motor skills have a direct impact on the cognitive development of children. The students at Bridge View have the most complex needs of special needs and deserve to have the appropriate materials and equipment so they are able to develop skills to their utmost potential."
Andrea Smith, Teacher:
"I’m Andrea Smith and I have been a teacher at Bridge View for 2 years. Seeing children have access to accessible play equipment is a dream that I have for my students. The learning that can be done through play is such a rich and rewarding experience for all students -- our students at Bridge View deserve to have that opportunity. Let’s make the dream of an accessible playground a reality!"