from West Hartford News:
With Coach Kevin Ollie looking on, 20-year old Jamie Roland, who has Down’s syndrome and six-year old first grader Sofie Turek, whose spirit is not slowed by a neurogenetic disorder, took the shots of their lives. Swish. Swish.
A third swish came from Coach Ollie as he announced at a ceremony at the Mandell Jewish Community Center, held Dec. 26, that his charity the Kevin Ollie Charity Classic is donating $50,000 to build “Kevin’s Kourt at Jonathan’s Dream Reimagined”.
Amy Barzach, co-founder of Jonathan’s Dream, one of America’s first inclusive playgrounds, said that “Kevin’s Kourt at Jonathan’s Dream” will be the first inclusive Bankshot™ basketball court in Connecticut.
“’Kevin’s Kourt at Jonathan’s Dream’ will help children and families, of all ages and abilities, discover the freedom of playing together without limitations,” said Barzach.
“Kevin’s Kourt at Jonathan’s Dream” will have up to nine stations created by Bankshot™, which has pioneered inclusive basketball play structures based on total-mix diversity and universal design.
“I’m going to come over here in the summertime, in the springtime and just take a seat on the bench and relax and watch all the kid’s playing. It’s going to be a wonderful and exciting thing to see this court go up,” Ollie said.
Coach Ollie also announced that “Kevin’s Kourt at Jonathan’s Dream” will be the first of what he hopes to be many inclusive “Kevin Kourts” to be built throughout Connecticut.
“‘Kevin’s Kourt’ allows us to be part of the community and that’s what we want, to contribute beyond ourselves,” said Ollie. “That’s what we teach our players, and this is a great kickoff to this event.”
Jonathan’s Dream, on the - Zachs Campus — adjacent to the Mandell Jewish Community Center — was one of America’s very first “inclusive” playgrounds. To honor her son Jonathan, who lost his battle to spinal muscular atrophy in 1995, and the dream of all children being able to play together, Amy Barzach, her family and an army of 1,000 volunteers built the original Jonathan’s Dream in 1996.
Now, Jonathan’s Dream Reimagined is innovating fun once again, with revolutionary new equipment and experiences. It is being rebuilt under the leadership of the “Jonathan’s Dream Team”, an alumni task force of Leadership Greater Hartford. Design services for Jonathan’s Dream Reimagined have been donated by Shane’s Inspiration, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles, California.
‘”Kevin’s Kourt at Jonathan’s Dream’ will allow all of us, regardless of ability, to dream,” Ollie said. As Jamie Roland said, with a very wide smile as the ball sailed through the hoop: “I like to play basketball because I like to make shots.”
Additional donations to Jonathan’s Dream can be made by visiting www.jonathansdreamreimagined.org, or by mail to 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06117, or by contacting Ronit Shoham at 860-558-5313 or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org