The Pride Center at Equality Park in Wilton Manors will be building a playground to accommodate the growing need for a safe play area that provides social support, mentoring PrideCenter_logoand educational and creative development for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) families in South Florida. To make this vision a reality, The Pride Center has launched a $75,000 fundraising challenge and is seeking community volunteers to help construct the 2,500-square-foot interactive playground (roughly half of the size of an NBA basketball court) on Friday, October 16. When completed, it will be the first playground of its kind in the United States to be situated on a LGBT campus.

“A playground is more than just a physical space. Creative play is developmentally important for our children and future leaders. It’s a brain-expander, a friend-maker and a mentor-connector,” said Robert Boo, CEO of The Pride Center at Equality Park. “Together, with our national benefactors plus the support of the local business community and volunteers, we can meet our mission of providing a welcoming space that celebrates, nurtures and empowers the LGBT community and our friends and neighbors in South Florida while setting an example for other national organizations.”

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According to the 2010 U.S. Census, about one-fifth of same-sex couples (more than 9,000) in Broward County are raising children. This follows the growing trend of LGBT parents who are raising about two million children, nationwide.

On August 18, The Pride Center hosted a Design Day during which local children participated in the creative planning process. Approximately 20 children colorfully illustrated their dream play space and presented them to project managers. Their input will be vital in helping The Price Center create a one-of-a-kind personalized play experience.

Parents expressed enthusiasm about the utilization of eco-friendly materials, shade features, weather-resistant construction, handicapped accessibility and clear sight lines to their children.

To coincide with the playground build on October 16, a goal of $30,000 has been set and earmarked for site preparation and build. Approximately 150 volunteers still are needed for Build Day. Forty volunteers are needed for Prep Days on October 14 and 15.

The remaining $45,000 goal will be applied toward additional project features including shade mitigation, fencing, landscaping, drinking fountain, maintenance and programming.

Organizations and individuals interested in volunteering and contributing funds, services and supplies should contact Kristofer Fegenbush, COO of The Pride Center at Equality Park, at (954) 463-9005 or email kfegenbush@pridecenterflorida.org.