Family-friendly proved with local efforts

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 28, 2007

When you go online or read in the newspaper about the attributes of a particular community, one phrase is often used by a town in its self-description: &8220;family friendly.&8221;

By letting the world know your town is family friendly, it sends a message that this is a place where you can come and raise a family or enjoy your retirement.

Of course slogans are nice but the actions of a community really prove they are a family friendly place to live. The Helena Kiwanis Club has proved just that in their new Boundless Playground for Kids.

For more than five years now the Helena Kiwanis Club has worked tirelessly in building a unique playground designed for children with special needs. This playground is like no other facility in our area.

It is specifically designed to be a user friendly park for families to take disabled children for some recreation and fun.

Everything from the cushioned flooring to the equipment itself caters directly to those with special needs.

The path to completing this park has not been an easy one for the Helena community.

More than $500,000 was raised from both private and government sources. While state, county and local grants were provided to help with this project the real financial push came from the citizens of Helena themselves.

With the Helena Kiwanis Club leading the charge, money was raised from fund-raisers at the Buck Creek Festival and other organized events.

No one person dropped a big check into the pot to pay for the entire playground. People came from all parts of the community to give whatever they could afford to make this possible.

In the end what makes this playground even more special for the children is the fact that their community took the initiative to make it happen.

While I am sure there were some times when they grew discouraged because of the slow pace of the donations they received, never did you see the people of Helena throw their hands up and surrender.

Boundless is an appropriate word in describing not only this playground but also the strength of Helena because their future has no boundaries as long as they maintain this kind of community spirit.

The completion of this playground speaks volumes about the quality of people living in Helena and things to come.

For more information on this playground, please visit the Helena Kiwanis Club Web site at