Members Donate $10,000 to Help Make Universal Playground a “Dream Come True”
Today, the dedicated, philanthropic Sunrise Rotary Club members, donated $10,000 to help fund Courtney’s SandCastle. “This donation brings us one step closer to realizing Courtney Faye Smith’s dream of constructing this universal playground in San Clemente,” said Mina Santoro, Chair of Courtney’s SandCastle Committee.
The unique 30,000 square-foot universal playground is being constructed on land provided by the City of San Clemente at its 45-acre sports park and aquatic center, which is now under construction at 987 Avenida Vista Hermosa. This playground will benefit disabled youth for interactive play alongside able bodied youth and help disabled adults who can use the playground features for therapeutic purposes. A fundraising drive continues for the unfunded phase II of the playground project. Courtney herself attended today’s Sunrise Rotary breakfast meeting to accept the check on behalf of the Courtney’s SandCastle fundraising committee.
Courtney’s SandCastle is named for Courtney who has been confined to a wheelchair because of a rare muscular degenerative disease – Spinal Muscular Atrophy. When Courtney and her friends visit local parks together, she is unable to participate because of her disabilities as are some 18,000 other children in Orange County with disabilities. Courtney was 5 years old when the idea of a playground where disabled and able children could play together was conceived and now she is 14.
The Sunrise Rotary Board reviewed the current plans for the playground and decided to support a $10,000 donation towards the interactive water feature planned of the playground. The Sunrise Rotary has been saving for Courtney’s SandCastle since 2004. Courtney’s SandCastle serves as the club’s Rotary International Centennial Project.
Don Glasgow and Mina Santoro have been leading the fundraising drive for Courtney’s SandCastle. Today they made a formal presentation to the Sunrise Rotary Club on the latest plans for the playground. Mayor Lori Donchak and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Evert also attended. Sunrise Rotary Member Nesa Anderson said, “It’s really fantastic and will be a unique to the region. It will be a great place for disabled and able children to play together and a nice place for all people to enjoy. One component is a “Sensory Garden” that is very special and one of a kind. This is where the interactive water feature that we are sponsoring is located.” She continued, “It is cool, cool, cool and is a feature that is important to Courtney”.
The proceeds from donations to Courtney’s SandCastle are deposited with the local non-profit Friends of San Clemente Beaches, Parks & Recreation Foundation in its Courtney’s SandCastle Fund. If interested in making a donation, call Don Glasgow, at (949) 481-0116. Donations can also be made online.