Waterville Senior High School Jobs for Maine Grads students recently kicked off a $1,000 fundraiser to purchase a handicapped-accessible swing for the Judge Morton A. Brody Playground on North Street.
The fundraiser Adrian’s Swing” is named after Adrian Mazerolle, a 6-year-old kindergartener from the George J. Mitchell School who loves to swing, but recently outgrew the baby swings and needs a specialized swing installed. Adrian was born with a neurological condition known as Schizencephaly because he had a stroke in utero. He is visually impaired, not able to walk without a walker, is non-verbal, and has intractable Epilepsy.
Matt Skehan, the director of Waterville’s Parks and Recreation Department, researched the costs of installing a handicapped-accessible swing for older children after being approached by Adrian’s family. He said because of budget constraints, he was unable to afford the swing immediately, according to the release.
“Unfortunately, the price tag was too substantial for the current budget, but we are excited that JMG is taking this project on,” Skehan said, according to the release. “It’s really a perfect location for the new swing and will be used by many families for years to come, I’m sure.”
After hearing Adrian’s story from their JMG specialist, students in the multi-year JMG program jumped into action and planned a gofundme page, a school-wide fundraiser announcement, and brainstormed several small events such as a car wash, movie night, squirt gun battle, and bake sale to raise funds.
“In JMG, we teach students to overcome their barriers in life and give back to their community. This story really called to them on both levels,” said Dana Bushee, JMG specialist at WSHS, according to the release. “The students decided this was a barrier that they could beat for this little boy and others like him. I’m really proud of them.”
The school-wide fundraiser kicked off May 10 in a community homeroom event, said WSHS senior Sage Hafenecker, president of the JMG Career Association.
“I can’t imagine going to the park as a child, and not being able to swing,” Hafenecker said, according to the release. “In Adrian’s honor, we are asking our school community for help to raise $1,000 so that all children can swing this summer.”
The North Street playground is the most popular playground in Waterville because of its proximity to the Alfond Youth Center and the neighboring soccer fields, trails, and public pool, which serves thousands of families all over Central Maine, Skehan said. Currently, there is not a handicap accessible swing at any of the city’s playgrounds.
To make a donation, visit gofundme.com/adrianswing.