Just a few months ago, Nicole Ruble was substitute teaching at Lena Dunn Elementary when she noticed an empty swing set frame. Ruble, whose sons attend the school, then asked Principal Brenda Butcher and some of the other teachers why there weren’t any swings.
“I learned that the frame was once home for swings for children with disabilities,” said Ruble. “Due to the updated safety code regulations, the swings had to be removed and were unable to be replaced due to lack of financing.”
The students had gone a handful of years without the swings and Ruble decided something should be done to provide special needs students with new equipment.
Ruble, whose passion for helping others radiates, immediately began researching how to obtain swings for the students. “I have a heart for serving people in our community and this is a need that jumped out to me. Lena Dunn hosts all of the K-6 multi-categorical classrooms and the moderate to severe disability classrooms in the Washington Community School Corporation,” Ruble said.
It didn’t take her long to find a community grant through REMC and the special swings, which will cost just over $2,000, will be ordered for the school sometime next week. The new swings will be made of industrial materials and will meet the new safety codes.
“We are really looking forward to the kids being able to use the new equipment,” said Butcher. “This is one example of how community schools and parents, like Nicole, can work together for our kids.”
Currently, there are eight children at the school who will benefit from the new equipment which will allow even children in wheelchairs to swing but the number of children in the special needs program varies throughout the year, due to illness among other things.
Physical therapist Brooke Thompson, who works with some of the children at the school to improve motor skills and muscle function, recommended specific swings to best accommodate the students. One swing will be a platform swing to accommodate wheelchairs.