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It all started with a story…

Once upon a time there were two sisters.

One spring day they wanted their Mom to take them to the park and play. When they arrived at the park the older sister jumped out of the car ahead of her Mom and sister. She was so excited.

“Come on Mom, hurry up! I am going to go over to the pumpkin carriage.”

“Ok, be careful and stop there and wait for us,” said the Mom.

At this point the girls Mom was getting a wheelchair out of the car for the younger sister to use. She quickly buckled her younger daughter in her seat and off they went with big smiles on their faces.

When they got to the sidewalk in front of the playground that smile quickly turned to a frown because they were stopped by railroad ties which keep the mulch in, but children who use wheelchairs out.

“What a nuisance!” the Mom said, as she lifted her daughter and her wheelchair over the barrier.

When the young girl and her Mom finally made it across the bumpy mulch, the older daughter was eager to play with them.

“Hey, come on up here. Mom you can be the Queen and we will be the princesses.”

This sounded like fun, both girls anxious to play, only one problem, their Mom couldn’t get the little sister up on the carriage without having to take her out of her wheelchair.

“I’m sorry, but we just can’t get up on the carriage, isn’t there something for all of us to play on.”

At that point all three of them looked around the playground.

“Mom, I don’t see anything we can all do together because we can’t get the wheelchair up on anything!”

With a sigh the Mother said “you are right, ok, you go and play and we will sit here in the shade and watch.”

“I wish there was something we could do together.” The Mom said to the little girl in the wheelchair. As she spoke to her she noticed a tear rolled down the little girls’ cheek.

The older sister jumped off the carriage and ran around and used all of the equipment, the slides, the bars, the swings, and then she stopped and looked back at her Mom and sister who were looking very sad watching her.

“What’s the matter Mom?”

“Well, your sister wants to play like you.”

“You know what Mom, I think we should go home and I will make up a game to play with my sister. She’s special and should be able to play like me.”

So they pushed the wheelchair back over the bumpy mulch, over the barriers and headed back to their car, to go home and play.

This is an actual story, as these two little girls are my daughters, and this was the beginning of the creation of the first fully inclusive playground in our state and one of the first of its kind in the country.

I worked for almost 10 years creating fully inclusive playgrounds in the metro DC area and helped many communities around the country before I closed our nonprofit organization shortly after September 11th. I will continue to write about “building a dream,” and hopefully it will inspire many more playgrounds to come! So hold onto your dreams and reach to make them happen!

About shelley

Shelley Kramm is the founder and editor of I'm Still Standing and The DC Ladies. Learn more about her and her inspirational family here and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ and on

Other places to find shelley


  1. Do you have pictures of the playgrounds? I would love to do something like that in the DFW area.

  2. Cutest Pic of the girls! I have seen these playgrounds, you truly moved mountains and made an amazing amazing thing.

  3. Weeping Willow Bee says:

    Beautiful story. You are indeed an inspiring mom and thank you for sharing.

  4. That was a great memory to share – and a life changing one! It’s wonderful!

  5. Just wanted to say Hi! I found you via the Mom Bloggers Club Follow Me Group. I am now following you! Stop by my site when the get the chance! I also have a lot of giveaways going on!

  6. Hi Shelley!

    Amazing story! I would love to see some fully inclusive playgrounds in my area.
    Love your blog! Keep it up!


  7. Happy Mother’s Day!

  8. That was very inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  9. What a wonderful story. It’s great that you reached out to help change the world for these kids! Happy Mother’s Day :)

  10. That’s so great! I have CP too, but not as severe as your daughters. I’m in a wheelchair for now, and I know what A PAIN it can be to go somewhere.

  11. Hi,

    I added your button to my blog:)


  12. Shelley,

    It is wonderful how this experience motivated you to create an organization for change. When I lived in California, there were parks everywhere and a few that were fully accommodating to all children.

    I was also touched by your older daughter’s concern for her sister that led her to want to go home and play something where they could both participate. I’m sure that love and “protection” continues today.

  13. Wow, what a touching story. We have three kiddos with special needs – not physically disabled but I can relate to this story.

  14. Dear Shelly,
    What an inspirational site. I was part of a local women's group for years that worked on a project called COURTNEY'S SAND CASTLE in San Clemente, CA–a fully integrated park where ALL children can play and have fun!

    I have a website called that is news & events from a mom's pespective. We have a lot of great "chat room" for moms, as well as a news blog with a mom twist. We would love if you checked out our MOMS OF SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS room. We have a super special O-MAMA that writes a weekly note "Special Delivery" to spark conversation. We hope you'll check it out! I will post a link in there to your site.

    Change begins at home!