Nearly 1 in 3 children (ages 2-19) is overweight or obese, putting them at risk for serious health problems. In addition, nearly 1 in 4 children (ages 2-8) have a chronic health condition. Yet, only 1 out of 3 is physically active each day. [According to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation https://www.healthiergeneration.org/]
That’s why playgrounds are a critical source of physical activity for young children.
The YMCA of Montclair is in the process of raising funds for an imaginative and accessible public playground. The project will break ground this summer behind the Y’s Geyer Family Branch at 159 Glenridge Ave in Montclair.
Through a design and development collaboration with Montclair State University, the Y is planning a fully accessible Rainbow themed playground. It will include a Play Tower with an ADA staircase, slide, a greenhouse and florist play space, sand and water play, a tiered mountain riding road, an urban garden and more.
The goal for the new playground is to enhance collaboration, inclusion, physical development and challenges to provide a safe, fun environment for all children, regardless of their abilities.
This playground will benefit children who attend programs and camp at the Y and children who live in the area, as there is no public playground nearby.
The Y needs your help to make this inclusive playground experience possible.
The YMCA of Montclair has raised $65,000 for the playground thanks to generous donations from Investors Foundation, Susann and Jim Connors and Wendy and Andrew Lacey and others. They are seeking an additional $85,000 in donations to finish funding it. As a 501(c) 3 nonprofit, all donations to the Y for the playground are tax deductible. If you are interested in making a donation, please visit https://www.montclairymca.org/giving/appeal/ or call 973-415-6103.
“Forming healthy habits at a young age puts children on a path to improved health outcomes,” said Buddy Evans, President & CEO of the YMCA of Montclair. “This playground is great for our Y and this area because it inspires physical activity in young children and is filling a community need.”
According to Evans, this is a tremendous community effort.
“I presented the idea of the playground to the Y’s major donors and they’ve been fully supportive of this project,” said Evans. “We then reached out to the Department of Art and Design at Montclair State University who were very excited to jump on board along with our architect.”
A professor and six students from Montclair State’s Department of Art and Design are also engaged in this project – the interns will receive credit for designing and manufacturing the playground.
“In working with the YMCA, select students and various consultants, our goal was to design an inclusive play space that engages children both physically and creatively,” said Gary Fredriksen, Professor of Art and Design at Montclair State University. “We also wanted to include unique elements that connect the playground to the Montclair community.”
The Y plans to open the playground in the fall.