Melody came up with her plan two years ago, when she was in fourth grade. The playground at Heritage Elementary wasn’t accessible to her. Melody couldn’t use any of the equipment. She couldn’t even roll her wheelchair through the gravel that surrounded the equipment to get into the playground.
So, during recess, Melody’s friends would chat with her for a bit. Then they’d run off to the swings or monkey bars. That would leave Melody all alone.
“I just watched them go and play,” Melody recalls. “I would think to myself, ‘Why am I just sitting here?’”
Melody decided to look beyond the barriers and she saw an opportunity. She would help her school build a more inclusive playground! No kid would be left out because of a disability.
“I don’t want kids to feel like outsiders,” Melody says. “I don’t want them to be pushed aside—it’s not right.”