Joaquin's Special Swing

On Friday, June 3rd, 2016, my day was good… I met our first family for the Every Ability Plays Project. It is a mom and a little boy with disabilities. Yes, more than one disability. They are within walking distance from a park but Joaquin can’t get on any of the equipment. This park had a very slippery seat swing without straps so Joaquin couldn’t sit in it. I told Joaquin’s mom, Anita, I would come back to film them in their neighborhood park because I was planning on taking that footage up to the city to show this was where a special swing needed to be put for this special little boy. The more I thought about this, I told myself we had no time to lose because this little boy was going to grow up very fast. Right away, I emailed the city telling them about Joaquin. I asked if we could swamp that seat swing with a better one. Susannah Abbey emailed back immediately, saying she would check with Management and Planning Division Manager. Just six days later, Susannah emailed me saying we could replace that slippery seat swing with a better one. That made me so very happy. Right away, I text Anita giving her the really great news. She was delighted saying I had done more for Joaquin in a few days than anybody else had. We ran into two issues during this time. The first one was that Dan Gardner once again offered to purchase this special swing which made me a little sad because I felt like they didn’t think Every Ability Plays Project could do anything. The second issue was that Susannah wanted us to purchase a swing with a plastic harness. I said no. She said swings with seat belts got easily more damaged. I said oh well if we would have to replace that seat belt. I said Joaquin and I would slip right out of a swing with a plastic harness. I also told her it was time to think about our children with disabilities and their special needs. She finally got it! Friday, June 24th, 2016, Anita and Joaquin joined me to speak at The Arc conference about Every Ability Plays Project.

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On Wednesday, November 16th, I was very happy to say I was beyond blessed to see my dream come true. Our King Joaquin was the first little boy who benefited from Every Ability Plays Project. I was very happy to see our first special swing there when Melinda and I got there, but I was a little sad the city didn’t let me see my swing going up like I had been requesting. A few minutes later, Anita and Joaquin got there followed by their friend, Savannah, who was also in a wheelchair. She was a very sweet girl. Cheryl and Jennie got there. Cheryl got my camera and started taking pictures. As we were going to see the front of my swing, Jennie was telling Melinda and me that she got a swing where mom and baby could sit on two different parts of the same swing and they could swing at the same. Jennie said she bought that swing to put in at A Park Above, but the city of Rio Rancho didn’t let her. She told me that she wanted to donate that swing to EAPP and that I could pick a park where I wanted to put it. That made me so very happy because that made me feel like Jennie wanted to be a part of my project. It was a very beautiful feeling seeing our first special swing for the first time. I just thanked God for letting Every Ability Plays Project get this far. When we were by the swing, Sarah, Andrea and Karen Lucero got there. Karen came up to me and asked if I knew her. I said yes! Karen was my physical therapist at the Rehab Center when I was 3. Because the city gave me the wrong park name, Sarah told me Brian Colon couldn’t find us and that happened to a few people who didn’t even tried going to the other park. Sarah kept saying Brian was coming. We thought the city was going to be there since Susannah Abbey told me to be there at 9AM. Sarah was calling the Mayor’s office to see if they were going. When Brian got there, Sarah told me to write a little something to say. I thanked Sarah and Brian for helping Every Ability Plays Project get this far. I said I hoped we could help more families like Anita and Joaquin. Sarah and Brian said they were very proud of me. Anita told me thank you for doing this for Joaquin. After, Melinda did me the honor putting the sticker with our logo on the swing and that was very beautiful. It was finally time for Joaquin and Savannah to swing since the city put an extra special swing. That was very beautiful to see. Later that day, I emailed Susannah Abbey letting her know I was very hurt she wasn’t there since she gave me the time to be at the park. I would have chosen a time when all of my project board members could have been there. On Tuesday, November 22nd, Every Ability Plays Project got interviewed by Channel 13 news. That made me so very happy. I told my best friend, Sonya, to go take my little monkey boy Anthony and so that she could get me on the swing. Yes, I am very spoiled!