Resurgens Charitable Foundation makes playgrounds more accessible

Blakely Davis (age 6) runs along the the all-inclusive playground followed by her brother Cameron (8) and mother Dana at Alpharetta Elementary School. PHIL SKINNER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.
Caption
Blakely Davis (age 6) runs along the the all-inclusive playground followed by her brother Cameron (8) and mother Dana at Alpharetta Elementary School. PHIL SKINNER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

Credit: Phil Skinner

Credit: Phil Skinner

Few barriers exist to having fun, making friends, and staying fit at dozens of playgrounds that have popped up across metro Atlanta in recent years.

Ramps at these playgrounds provide equal access for the physically challenged. Some – including one at Alpharetta Elementary School – even have swings for the wheelchair-bound.

Ten-year-old special-needs student Bryce Davis never tires of the fun he has at the Alpharetta playground with his classmates by day and with his family after school and on weekends.

“It’s just a ginormous win for the school and the kids,” his mother, Dana Davis, says of the roughly year-old playground.

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Bryce Davis (age 10) plays a memory game at the all-inclusive playground at Alpharetta Elementary School. For Inspire Atlanta story on the Resurgens Charitable Foundations that helps build playgrounds like this one. PHIL SKINNER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

Credit: Phil Skinner

Bryce Davis (age 10) plays a memory game at the all-inclusive playground at Alpharetta Elementary School. For Inspire Atlanta story on the Resurgens Charitable Foundations that helps build playgrounds like this one. PHIL SKINNER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.
Caption
Bryce Davis (age 10) plays a memory game at the all-inclusive playground at Alpharetta Elementary School. For Inspire Atlanta story on the Resurgens Charitable Foundations that helps build playgrounds like this one. PHIL SKINNER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

Credit: Phil Skinner

Credit: Phil Skinner

Caption
The charitable arm of Atlanta-based Resurgens orthopedic group was formed in 2001 and initially threw its support behind the American Red Cross’ response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. But its mission quickly evolved to dovetail more closely with Resurgens’ professional goal of promoting an active lifestyle for people of all ages and abilities, said Dr. John Gleason, foundation president. Here Dr. Joseph Chandler, foundation executive director, and Gleason attend the foundation's primary fundraiser in October. Photo courtesy of Caroline Money, Resurgens Orthopaedics

The charitable arm of Atlanta-based Resurgens orthopedic group was formed in 2001 and initially threw its support behind the American Red Cross’ response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. But its mission quickly evolved to dovetail more closely with Resurgens’ professional goal of promoting an active lifestyle for people of all ages and abilities, said Dr. John Gleason, foundation president. Here Dr. Joseph Chandler, foundation executive director, and Gleason attend the foundation's primary fundraiser in October. Photo courtesy of Caroline Money, Resurgens Orthopaedics
Caption
The charitable arm of Atlanta-based Resurgens orthopedic group was formed in 2001 and initially threw its support behind the American Red Cross’ response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. But its mission quickly evolved to dovetail more closely with Resurgens’ professional goal of promoting an active lifestyle for people of all ages and abilities, said Dr. John Gleason, foundation president. Here Dr. Joseph Chandler, foundation executive director, and Gleason attend the foundation's primary fundraiser in October. Photo courtesy of Caroline Money, Resurgens Orthopaedics

In the past 20 years, 36 of these all-inclusive playgrounds have been built at metro schools and public parks with grants from Resurgens Charitable Foundation.

The foundation, the charitable arm of Atlanta-based Resurgens orthopedic group, was formed in 2001 and initially threw its support behind the American Red Cross’ response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Caption
Resurgens Charitable Foundation has been helping build all-inclusive playgrounds around Atlanta for years. It also supports several programs for the disabled and relies heavily on donations to its annual golf tournament. This year's event was Oct. 4. Pictured from left to right are: Resurgens Orthopaedics physicians Mathew Levine, Edward Holliger, Paul Jeffords, and Brooks Ficke. Photo courtesy of Caroline Money, Resurgens Orthopaedics.

Credit: Caroline Money, Resurgens Orthopaedics

Resurgens Charitable Foundation has been helping build all-inclusive playgrounds around Atlanta for years. It also supports several programs for the disabled and relies heavily on donations to its annual golf tournament. This year's event was Oct. 4.  Pictured from left to right are: Resurgens Orthopaedics physicians Mathew Levine, Edward Holliger, Paul Jeffords, and Brooks Ficke. Photo courtesy of Caroline Money, Resurgens Orthopaedics.
Caption
Resurgens Charitable Foundation has been helping build all-inclusive playgrounds around Atlanta for years. It also supports several programs for the disabled and relies heavily on donations to its annual golf tournament. This year's event was Oct. 4. Pictured from left to right are: Resurgens Orthopaedics physicians Mathew Levine, Edward Holliger, Paul Jeffords, and Brooks Ficke. Photo courtesy of Caroline Money, Resurgens Orthopaedics.

Credit: Caroline Money, Resurgens Orthopaedics

Credit: Caroline Money, Resurgens Orthopaedics

But its mission quickly evolved to dovetail more closely with Resurgens’ professional goal of promoting an active lifestyle for people of all ages and abilities, said Dr. John Gleason, foundation president.

“The children with disabilities have always been there,” Gleason said. “They’ve just been underserved in this aspect of their life. They get medical care. They get an education. But the physical component of being able to exercise, get out and about and try to do normal stuff like their peers is what they have been lacking.”

The foundation initially planned to help build one specially equipped playground a year. But with nearly twice that number now in operation, many of the region’s disabled children are able to enjoy the playground experience with wheelchair swings, adaptive walking tracks, wheelchair ramps, and equipment that’s geared to the vision and hearing impaired.

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Resurgens Charitable Foundation helped build this playground in Chastain Park to help physically challenged children. Courtesy of Tim Harman

Credit: Photo courtesy of Resurgens Charitable Foundation

Resurgens Charitable Foundation helped build this playground in Chastain Park to help physically challenged children. Courtesy of Tim Harman
Caption
Resurgens Charitable Foundation helped build this playground in Chastain Park to help physically challenged children. Courtesy of Tim Harman

Credit: Photo courtesy of Resurgens Charitable Foundation

Credit: Photo courtesy of Resurgens Charitable Foundation

To date, the foundation has raised $3.1 million from its physicians, employees, business partners, and fundraising events for the playgrounds and other projects, Gleason said.

The nonprofit’s reach also has expanded to help other organizations with programs for the disabled, including The Georgia Ballet, Henry County Wheelchair Sports, North Metro Miracle League, and Paralyzed Veterans of America.

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This is in the city of Acworth and is one of more than 30 all-inclusive playgrounds built in the region with help from Resurgens Charitable Foundation. Courtesy of Resurgens Charitable Foundation.

Credit: Photo courtesy of the foundation.

This is in the city of Acworth and is one of more than 30 all-inclusive playgrounds built in the region with help from Resurgens Charitable Foundation. Courtesy of Resurgens Charitable Foundation.
Caption
This is in the city of Acworth and is one of more than 30 all-inclusive playgrounds built in the region with help from Resurgens Charitable Foundation. Courtesy of Resurgens Charitable Foundation.

Credit: Photo courtesy of the foundation.

Credit: Photo courtesy of the foundation.

The Georgia Ballet has had more than 200 students from metro Atlanta participate in its DanceAbility program over the past 10 years.

The program provides twice-weekly dance classes to children with developmental and/or physical disabilities and would not be possible without the foundation’s support, said Colt Chambers, the ballet’s director of development.

Not only do children attend the classes for free because of funding from the foundation, but the nonprofit also picks up the bill for their classroom attire and their performance costumes, he said.

Harlon Matthews, Henry County Parks & Recreation’s wheelchair sports coordinator and tennis center manager, said the local wheelchair sports program is “living proof of the difference the foundation” and its members make.

“They are not just a game-changer. They make the game possible with their generous contributions,” Matthews said. “On top of all that, they also attend our games and cheer us on. What more could you ask for?”

Gleason said the foundation has had an impact everywhere in the region that it has either assisted a partner in building a park or taken on that job by itself. And the reaction has just been amazing, he said.

“It is a morale boost. It is a physical boost,” Gleason said. “And it’s a relief to a lot of parents who have nowhere else to turn to try to assimilate their children or their adult kids into normal lifestyles.”

Alpharetta Elementary School serves a high percentage of special needs students, and the community wanted to do something for those students. A $25,0000 donation from the foundation was the boost that was needed, said Morgan Rogers, Alpharetta’s director of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Services.

“The community just loves the playground,” Rogers said. said. “It has components for everyone to get to the playground and just play. At the end of the day, all kids just want to play.”