Haley Crownover

To kids, recess is often considered one of the best parts of the day because it gives them time to unwind, socialize, and to simply get out and play! For children who face challenges due to being in a wheelchair, playground equipment and activities may not be readily accessible.

Haley Crownover, educator at Northern Hills Elementary, was driven to have an environment at recess where it was accommodating and where it gave her students the opportunity to grow socially and emotionally. Thanks to Power of the Dollar® members, she was awarded a $1,000 grant in December 2022 to purchase playground materials convenient and wheelchair-friendly for a more enjoyable recess experience!

The accessible stationary wooden tabletop

“In coming and helping take the kids to recess, for example, or even the P.E., they have adapted, but still the kids who are in wheelchairs don’t get to experience much,” said Crownover. “My goal was it would promote social and emotional development between the kids and maybe provide a way for them to communicate better.”

Standing waist-high and holding an array of items in containers, a stationary wooden tabletop, with the main attraction being a toy fishing pond, gives students who are in wheelchairs a fun recreational experience and share in the fun of all other students during recess. Equipped with various materials, such as kinetic sandpit, the table – which currently has an under-the-sea-type-feel – will have a different theme for each school year to come. The overall experience has been an absolute joy for her students!

“Kids don’t get to play enough,” she said. “I do want to take that [her project] into next year, though, but I think the way I want to do that is by pairing my science lessons up with this and theming it or doing different things like that. The best way to learn is hands-on.”

Looking to help local schools, invest in your community, and support educators like Haley Crownover? Make a tangible, positive impact by joining the collective giving of our Power of the Dollar® membership. Learn more at www.firstmarkcu.org/checking, and together, we can create pathways that lead to better lives and stronger communities.