La Senita swing fundraiser needs another push

KINGMAN - Supporters of a drive to bring several handicap-accessible swings and a sliding board to La Senita Little Explorers Early Learning Center can't thank the community enough for recent contributions of money and assistance.

Since the drive began this year, the group has received numerous donations of $50 to $1,000 from groups, businesses and individuals. Two local companies gave the materials and labor for a cement walkway and protective rubber surface under the swings. And UniSource Energy Services had a yard sale this month that raised $1,364.48 for the project.

The swings and sliding board will be used by the 17 disabled children who attend the school. La Senita already has purchased one wheelchair swing, which has a ramp and can hold a wheelchair, and a large, plastic bucket swing. The metal wheelchair swing cost $1,730 and the bucket swing cost $1,150 for the seat and frame, plus tax. Shipping for both was $920, for a total of about $4,000.

"Special needs kids have a special place in my heart," said Carol Turney, a member of the Mohave County Special Needs Advocacy Coalition who has been a driving force behind the project. "There are so many things they are left out of because they are disabled. They need to have fun and enjoy life and not let it pass them by. And now the children at La Senita are going to have this wonderful playground."

The school plans to buy at least one more of each type of swing, as well as a special sliding board, for the students to use. The playground where they will be installed was recently named "Kailey's Playground," after 22-year-old former La Senita student Kailey Shuffler, who had muscular dystrophy and died in March.