Friends for Life is a local charity providing services to help the elderly and people with disabilities live the fullest life possible. They offer myriad services to the community, one of which is an adult day care. Individuals who are elderly and/or experience disabilities are invited to enjoy the day at an outstanding facility in Waco. Friends for Life offers countless opportunities to their clients for enrichment across all aspects of life.

One such amenity is a well-designed playground area, which Friends for Life shares with The Arc of McLennan County (The Arc). The Arc is a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding opportunities, care, and support for persons and families impacted by intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Any playground—especially one primary used by people who are elderly and/or experiencing physical, intellectual, or developmental disabilities—must be designed with the users in mind. The goal is to best accommodate users of the park and provide an atmosphere that can provide rest and relaxation as well as fun and frivolity.

The shared playground was falling into disrepair. For years it had been underutilized because it was not serving the needs of the users. However, NeighborWorks Waco recently partnered with employees from Clayton Homes-Waco II, and participants in the Greater Waco Chamber’s “Leadership Waco” Class XXXVIII to revamp the playground.

Over the course of four Saturdays, our combined teams were able to clean the playground, removing overgrown tree limbs, dead shrubbery and branches, and decaying wood. We repainted the fence and replaced dangerously decayed wood with treated and sealed new lumber. We raised garden beds to usable heights for the elderly and wheelchair users. Additionally, we repaired the two wheel-chair swings, and covered the suspending chains in plastic to prevent hand and finger injuries. We replaced broken swings and even added a side-by-side porch swing. Additionally, we were able to cover a section of the playground with a sun shade and repair a misting fan so the playground will offer respite in a variety of seasons.

As always, NeighborWorks Waco is proud to partner with outstanding organizations in our community to improve and develop our area for all people. It has been a pleasure collaborating with such a variety of people from across Waco to bring about some much-needed improvement for our neighbors.