After five brain surgeries that left her partially paralyzed, Jeannie Null hasn’t played on a playground in years. But the Junior Auxiliary of Meridian hopes to change that.
“[We] heard about the USA Today’s “A Community Thrives” grant. We applied for that. We interviewed Julie and Jeannie Null,” said Junior Auxiliary member, Casey Hendricks.
Even though Jeannie walks with a crutch and sometimes rides in a wheelchair, she longs to jump on a trampoline. Her mother thought of Planet Playground, a playground that has deteriorated since it first opened in 1999.
The playground is now closed for renovations. The Junior Auxiliary hopes to use the grant money to make the playground handicap accessible.
“Right now, there’s mulch out there. No one can navigate that with a wheelchair. The future Planet Playground will have a rubberized surface so that children in wheelchairs can play with their friends and parents can play with their kids,” said Hendricks.
To win the grant, the Junior Auxiliary needs you to vote for their video on act.usatoday.com. The organization with the most votes will receive a $100,000 grant. Second and third place winners will receive a $50,000 grant.
“We hope everyone will vote for this video and help us win this money, so that as a community, we can rebuild it, so that no kid is left sitting on the sidelines, and everyone can play together,” said Hendricks.
The City of Meridian is already working with a contractor to make Planet Playground handicap accessible. The city, however, needs help with raising the money to begin renovations. The cost is projected at $600,000.