When Tom and I decided that we wanted to give the district office playground (or what we have always called our yard) an upgrade in honor of our girls, we really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. That is not a statement of disappointment but rather of encouragement and utmost joy. The people we have met, the giving hearts that we have encountered, the joy that we have found in planning for this space has truly been a blessing in our new journey. Neither one of us had ever done anything like this before ~ in this life we are finding that there are lots of new ventures that have come our way that we were not prepared for. We are keeping our chins up, acting on the nudges we feel from above and, with much thought and gratitude for those who are helping us, building a space where love and joy is felt by all.
Here are some questions that are frequently asked about the progress of Anna and Abby’s Yard. I hope this gives those reading an idea of where we are in making this special place a reality. We have found that the process of planning, funding and, in the near future, building Anna and Abby’s Yard has been very organic. We have set dates but we trust that, no matter what, it will all happen when it’s supposed to happen.
How is the design for the play space coming along? This is a question that we get often and the answer is always the same. We are moving forward. Right now the design team, lead by Tom Norquist of GameTime, is working on the overall design of the play space. Two weeks ago I got a glimpse of what they have been working on, based on our input in terms of concept, and I have to say I am really happy. Everyone we have met from Tom’s team has truly been amazing and I have no doubt that they will design the perfect play space for Anna and Abby’s Yard. Our GameTime representative here in Portland, my dear friend Martha, is our liaison with the design team. She was part of our initial planning with Anna and Abby’s friends and is making sure that all of the ideas and dreams their friends had for this space are taken into consideration. We feel very grateful to everyone at GameTime ~ the care and dedication they have to Anna and Abby’s Yard is more than we could have ever asked for. They have truly been a blessing in this process.
Are we renovating the entire park or just putting in a new play space? Our plan is to give the entire park an upgrade. Depending on how much funding we can raise this may happen all at once or in phases. The plan is to put in a new fence around the park, a half fence that will separate the parking lot from the playground, add new picnic tables (which are being made by the Forest Grove High School wood class), a Love Rock Memorial Garden as a space for reflection and andscape the entire space with low maintenance plants, bushes and trees. We would like to put in a small stage in the back corner, add moveable soccer goals to the field and add a lot of special touches that we know our girls would love – these items, as well as the parks overall design, are subject to review and approval by the School Board and City. This is all in addition to the new play space from GameTime. Nick Wilson from Atlas Landscape Architecture is helping us with our overall design. We are very grateful for his expertise and for being part of our team.
What is your budget and how close are you to the overall goal? This is a great question but one that I can not answer yet. We have been amazed by the generosity of those in our community and from many others that have connected with our story and with our girls. The funds are being raised and I can’t help but say that it totally warms my heart the generosity of those who have given, held a fundraiser, sold lemonade, cookies and homemade goods and contributed their services in some way or another.
Can I still donate and if so is my donation tax deductible? Yes you can still donate and yes your donation is tax deductible. We have recently opened an account with the Forest Grove Community Foundation so that we can have donations be tax deductible. You can make checks out to The Forest Grove Community Foundation and then put Anna and Abby’s Yard in the notes section. Send your donation to Anna and Abby’s Yard c/o Forest Grove Community Foundation, 2417 Pacific Ave. Forest Grove, OR 97116. Once we receive your donation we will send you a receipt. We can not tell you enough how grateful we are to all of those who have donated in some way or another. We are so grateful.
Will the park be accessible to all kids? Yes. If you know anything about me or my family you know that we wouldn’t have it any other way. Parking for Anna and Abby’s Yard will be on the street around the park but we plan on putting in a few accessible parking spots in the district office parking lot. There will be a ramp to the playground with many features that are universal to all kids. Our goal with Anna and Abby’s Yard is to build a space for all kids to come and play.
When will Anna and Abby’s Yard be done? Great question and one I ask myself all the time. My personal goal is to have Anna and Abby’s Yard done by their second Heaven Day, which is Oct. 20th, 2015. As the team moves forward with the design, funds continue to be raised and resources gathered we will better know exactly what day we will be inviting everyone to come to the dedication.
Do you need volunteers? Yes. If you are interested in helping us we would love to hear from you. I am excited to say that we have had many volunteers help us along the way and sometimes it’s a simple as someone knows someone who has a bulldozer ~ which we will need eventually. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and my dear friend Jennifer will get back to you soon. If you have something specific you would like to help with please include that in your email.
How is the Love Rock Run helping Anna and Abby’s Yard? All proceeds from the Love Rock Run will go to Anna and Abby’s Yard this year. Our hope is that in future years we are able to continue the Love Rock Run and have the proceeds go to other community projects or programs. Helping us market the run and getting people to participate would be a tremendous help. The Love Rocks community is worldwide so we have a virtual running option so that you don’t have to live in the area to participate. We hope to raise a lot of money through this event. If you or someone you know would like to sponsor the Love Rock Run you can send us an email and will send you an sponsorship application.
If you have any other questions please feel free to send me an email at email@example.com.
This process, like I said above, has been very organic and has taken many twist and turns ~ all being very positive. I have a feeling that, much like the Love Rock movement, Anna and Abby’s Yard will come to reality with some help from above. I am committed in allowing that to happen and to be open to whatever that is. I have no doubt that one day, soon, I will invite you all to come play in Anna and Abby’s Yard.
When we are all standing in that space we will all be able to say we did this together. As a community of people, that has made the choice to celebrate Anna and Abigail’s beautiful lives. We built a space to gather, play and celebrate the purest of love and joy!
I have no doubt that as we play in Anna and Abby’s Yard, my girls will be watching from Heaven ~ smiling, dancing and celebrating.