TEC Campus School Raises Money for Accessible Playground

Community members help raise money to build the TEC playground at the Walk N Roll on October 17.

Community members help raise money to build the TEC playground at the Walk N’ Roll on October 17.

Anna Van der Linden

Community members help raise money to build the TEC playground at the Walk N' Roll on October 17.
Community members help raise money to build the TEC playground at the Walk N’ Roll on October 17.

Last September, The Education Cooperative opened a TEC Campus school in Walpole to educate children who require special education in the community and other towns. Located on 141 Main Street, the school has 4 intensive programs that help their students to be successful later in life.

The TEC school works with students who have multiple disabilities affecting vision, communication, and movement. Many of these students cannot use ordinary playground equipment, and the nearest accessible playgrounds are 15-25 miles from the Walpole location.

The TEC Campus School plans to create a universally accessible playground beside the building for all children to enjoy.

The playground will provide a universally accessible place where children of all abilities can explore and discover the world together through play,” said Rose Bragdon, Director of Human Resources and Community Outreach at TEC, “and it will increase opportunities for students with disabilities to actively participate in outdoor recreation alongside their friends and family members.”

To pay for the high-tech playground, community members have joined TEC families and teachers in fundraising efforts. On Saturday, October 17, the TEC school and the playground committee organized a Walk N’ Roll 5K in Bird Park. Families, teams, and individuals of all abilities completed a loop around the park, and registration money and donations went to the playground fund.

The goal total for the Walk N’ Roll event was $5,000, but so far $12,000 has been raised.

“We decided to keep the Walk N’ Roll website open until the end of October,” said Bragdon, “but we are thrilled with the outcome.”

The total budget for the entire playground, including the necessary landscaping, fencing, and walkways is $200,000, of which $55,000 have been raised.

This money will go towards a playground with specialized equipment that children with or without disabilities can enjoy. The swing set will feature local swing seats alongside accessible seats that provide greater support. The Cozy Cocoon—a circular hideaway built for oneoffers an escape from the busy learning atmosphere in the TEC school, helpful to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Interactive panels, a sand-and-water table, and Music Chimes will also entertain all children.

“The playground’s design is such that able bodied siblings and friends can play alongside children with disabilities, and it will serve an important need for families in the Walpole, Norwood, Westwood areas and beyond,” said Nancy Gallivan, who is on the TEC Board of Directors.

Fundraising efforts began in September with the campaign kickoff event, Anchors Aweigh, on September 17. Box Tops for Education, Stop N’ Shop A+ Rewards, and Amazon Smile have all been major contributors to the cause, donating a percentage of purchase totals if customers specify the TEC organization. Future funding events include a Spring Fair and a possible Launch Trampoline Park fundraiser.

The organization is applying for grant funding as well from KaBOOM!, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, and Ernie Boch’s Music Drives Us Foundation. Most recently, TEC has been notified that they will receive a grant from Music Drives Us to fund the Music Chimes.

Individual donations can be made on the Walk N’ Roll Website or The Education Cooperative website.

“If we all do a little bit, it will make a big difference for this wonderful dream,” said Gallivan.