Thank you all so much for the kind words regarding the opening of Anna & Abby’s Yard. We are overwhelmed with gratitude and have no words to express how our hearts truly feel. It’s been a surreal week. Alice has really enjoyed having kids at her “Sisters’ Yard” to play with. I have a feeling that there will be many friendships fostered for her in this space. I believe that is just another way Anna and Abby will care for their little sister from Heaven.
The past 7 years we have been so blessed to work with so many amazing and talented people. We are so grateful to each and every person that has been involved in Anna & Abby’s Yard and we truly can’t thank them enough for their talent and dedication.Tom Gamble, Matt Baum, and the City of Forest Grove; Christina Frank and Melissa Erikson of MIG, Inc; Cody Goldberg and the team at Harper’s Playground; Tony Velarde of Carlton Lake Specialty Sawmill; Kodiak Pacific Construction; and our dear friend Martha Rainey ~ each of these people will forever hold a special place in our hearts. Their dedication and commitment to making Anna & Abby’s Yard a reality means the world to us and we are so grateful and blessed to call all of them friends!
Anna & Abby’s Yard wouldn’t be the same without the giant sequoia that once stood next to the park. The Fitzgerald family had to make a very difficult decision to take down their beloved tree a few years ago and we are so grateful that they have allowed us to use the tree to make Anna & Abby’s Yard what it is – magical. Our families will forever be connected!!!
The community of Forest Grove has supported us, loved us, cared for our friends and neighbors, and have helped us make Anna & Abby’s Yard possible. We are so grateful for the generosity of those in our community (and beyond) who have held fundraisers, sold lemonade, given monetarily, and volunteered their time. Anna & Abby’s Yard is truly a space that has been built with love and by many. We feel so blessed to be part of a community that is so filled with love and joy!!!
Update 12/28/2020 ~ Anna & Abby’s Yard is OPEN!!!!
Update 4/24/2020: Today we broke ground for Anna & Abby’s Yard!!!
We are so excited that this moment is finally here. After 6 1/2 years of dreaming, planning, and fundraising, our community will finally see a lot of movement at Rogers Park. Fences will go up, big trucks will come in, a giant sequoia tree will come back to its final resting spot and Anna & Abby’s Yard will finally come to life.
Today was such a blessing to our hearts and we are so grateful for the continued love and support from so many. We miss our girls so much and we cannot wait to invite everyone to come and play in their yard.
Update 8/2018: When are they going to get started on Anna & Abby’s Yard? That is the #1 question I have gotten all summer long as Alice and I have played at Rogers Park. It is a very good question as our hope was that we were going to get started this summer. Then, something amazing happened which shifted the plan a bit.
What happened? Our prayers were answered.
A press release (included below) went out yesterday announcing the exciting news in regards to the completion of Anna & Abby’s Yard. We are so excited to announce that Harper’s Playground has joined our team and will help us raise the rest of the funds needed to make Anna & Abby’s Yard a reality. For the past 4 1/2 years, we’ve been praying for someone to help us raise the rest of the money needed to make Anna & Abby’s Yard a reality. Cody (Harper’s dad and CEO of Harper’s Playground) is an answer to those prayers. His guidance, experience, passion for inclusion and most importantly friendship mean the world to us and we are so grateful to join forces with him.
Inspired by the love of my girls, Anna & Abby’s Yard will be a place where people of all ages and abilities will experience the joy of play, the wonder of nature and the peace of community connection.
We are so excited!!!
PORTLAND, Ore., July 25, 2018– Harper’s Playground today announced a $500,000 pledge of fundraising support for Anna & Abby’s Yard, a playground project in Forest Grove, Oregon being developed by Anna & Abby’s parents Susan Dieter-Robinson and Tom Robinson along with the City of Forest Grove, OR.
As a result of the partnership, Harper’s Playground will offer inclusive design consultation to the team and help to raise $500,000 to fund the park design and construction, bringing Anna & Abby’s Yard even closer to a reality.
“Harper’s Playground is honored to have been invited to join the team of Anna & Abby’s family, the City of Forest Grove, and the design team at MIG. We all share the same vision of a space that will honor Anna & Abby while serving everybody through radically inclusive design,” said G Cody QJ Goldberg, Harper’s Playground Executive Director.
“The partnership with Harper’s Playground brings us one big step closer to Anna and Abby’s Yard becoming a reality and for that, we are extremely grateful for this partnership and look forward to working with them,” said Susan Dieter-Robinson, Anna & Abby’s mom.
“The City of Forest Grove has a rich history of providing services in Parks and Recreation to our community, with inclusion being a foundational element at our facilities and programming for over 30 years. We are proud to be in partnership with Harper’s Playground on the Anna & Abby’s Yard project and look forward to a continued positive relationship”, said Tom Gamble, Director of Parks and Recreation, City of Forest Grove.
A portion of the funds raised at the Harper’s Playground annual fundraising event, the Summer(ish) Soiree on September 16, 2018, will be allocated to the Anna & Abby’s Yard project, where Susan will be the keynote speaker.
Construction on Anna & Abby’s Yard is scheduled to break ground in the summer of 2019. This is the fourth playground in the Portland metro area that Harper’s Playground has been a part of since the original Harper’s Playground opened in November of 2012. They have also consulted on projects in Salem, OR, Bainbridge Island, WA and inspired similar projects around the world.
About Anna & Abby’s Yard
Anna & Abby’s Yard is a community project being led by Anna & Abby’s parents Susan Dieter-Robinson and Tom Robinson to build a playground in their hometown of Forest Grove, Oregon. Anna & Abby went to heaven on October 20, 2013, and this park is a way to honor the girls. Anna and Abby’s Yard will be a place for people to gather and celebrate love and joy. For more information, visit www.love-drenched-life.com
About Harper’s Playground
Harper’s Playground is a 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Portland, OR whose mission is to inspire vital communities by creating inviting playgrounds for people of all abilities. Their community-driven roots date to the founding by local parents on a mission to create a more equitable world for their daughters, one of whom uses wheels to get around. Together with their community, they designed, funded and built a brand new, first of its kind, fully-inclusive, nature-based playground at Arbor Lodge Park. Their next project in partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation, at Gateway Discovery Park, will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, August 4. For more information, visit harpersplayground.org.
Update 3/2017: I’m learning the process of building a playground is a very slow one. There is so much that goes into it and after 3 years of fundraising and dreaming, I am happy to say that it is looking like we are on the final stretch. With that said, I have no idea how long that stretch will take but I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. To date, there has been $140,000.00 donated to this project by so many kind and generous people from all over the country. The past three years I have received many bags of change (allowance money) from kids in our community and I am always so touched when I take those to the bank to deposit…this playground will truly be built by the kindness and generosity of this community and those that have been touched by Anna and Abby’s lives.
Last week I sat down with the city of Forest Grove’s park department and with MIG (the landscaping design firm working on this project) to talk about the overall design and to brainstorm more ideas for Anna and Abby’s Yard and how it will fit into the larger scope of Rogers Park. I will say that I walked away with so much happiness in my heart and a vision of a truly magical place that will celebrate the lives of my daughters. The overall design of Anna and Abby’s Yard has changed since our original drawings/video but we are confident that the new plans that are in the works are something this community will love. We will be incorporating pieces of our old design from GameTime and weaving that with a more natural play space that will truly set Anna and Abby’s Yard apart from your typical playground. Our goal is to have a place where families can explore nature, play, experience life together and feel love and joy in one of Forest Grove’s beloved parks.
Update 6/2015: Tom and I just asked the City Council of Forest Grove to accept a donation in the form of Anna 7 Abby’s Yard to be placed at Rogers Park. We decided to change the location because we felt that making the donation to the city was a better fit for our family. We are very excited about this change and are still moving forward. To date, we have raised just over $100,000. ❤
Update 5/2015: The design for the playground is finally done. We are now working with the District Office and working out specifics with them. Fundraising is in full force with our first Annual Love Rocks Run happening on June 27th with the proceeds to this years run going to Anna and Abby’s Yard. Grants are being written and we will be doing a crowdfunding campaign mid-summer. We are excited and looking forward to the home stretch.
Update 3/2015: It’s happening ~ slowly but surely!
Update 12/2015: As we approach the end of the year we are so grateful to all of those who have given in some way or another to Anna & Abby’s Yard. In Nov. we met with Game Time and Forest Grove Recreation and are very excited about the new location of Anna and Abby’s Yard at Rogers Park. We also opened a GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/annaandabbysyard as a place to accept donations and spread awareness of what we are trying to do to honor our daughters. As of Jan. we will have a new little one in our family and we are very excited that Anna and Abby’s Yard will be a place that she will go to feel the love of not only our community but also feel the love and joy of her sisters.
Update 10/2014: We started an Anna & Abby’s Yard Facebook page that will be updated with fundraisers, plans and eventually will let everyone know when we will be opening the park (smiling). Head here to get more frequent updates ~ Anna & Abby’s Yard Facebook Page.
Update 7/2014: Plans are drawn for the new play structure and we are now beginning the next phase, raising funds. We are in the process of developing a Kickstarter campaign that will hopefully go live in the next month. We are working on an informational video, layout of rewards for the campaign and also working with a landscape architect on getting all of our ideas into a drawing. We are excited and can see our vision for this space slowly taking shape. There are smiles in Heaven I’m sure.
Update 3/2014: We are working hard on the plans for the new playground/park behind the District Office. Here is a post that talks about our playground meetings with Anna and Abigail’s friends.
If you are interested in volunteering with fundraising, pulling together of resources or building please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in making a donation please go to harpersplayground.org.