New Ipswich woman fundraises for inclusive playground equipment

  • Aimee Wallace of New Ipswich and her son Zackary. Wallace hopes to raise money to install inclusive playground equipment at Memorial Park. She's also collecting backpacks and school supplies for children in need when they return to school. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Aimee Wallace with her kids, Zackary and Bayleigh, and the backpacks and school supplies they’ve collected for local students. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Aimee Wallace of New Ipswich hopes to raise money to install inclusive playground equipment at Memorial Park. She's also collecting backpacks and school supplies for children in need when they return to school. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 8/21/2019 4:59:35 PM

Inspired by her work as a home care aide, Aimee Wallace is fundraising to install an inclusive swing set for the New Ipswich Memorial Park.

“I think it’s important to give back in your life,” Wallace said.

Wallace has been a personal care aide for more than 24 years, and has for the past several years specialized in assisting quadriplegics.

She has been able to accompany her current client to playgrounds with accessible equipment near his home, where he’s able to join in on the play with his nieces and nephews, Wallace said, and it inspired her to advocate for similar equipment at New Ipswich’s public park.

“They’re only limited by what’s available for them to use in the community,” Wallace said. “We need to be all-inclusive. I have friends with special needs children, and it’s not always easy for them when they’re going out places.”

Wallace approached New Ipswich Recreation Director Nichole Talbot about the idea, and Talbot said she was immediately enthusiastic.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Talbot said. “And I do think there is a need. I have seen someone leave the park with a child in a wheelchair, and they were upset that there wasn’t more equipment they could use. It left me disheartened,” Talbot said.

So when Wallace approached her about fundraising for some inclusive equipment, she gave her blessing. If fundraising is successful, and there is a community need, Talbot said she’s open to exploring more adaptive equipment fundraisers in the future.

Wallace said she’s recently joined her daughter in selling baked goods at the weekly New Ipswich Farmers’ Market. She didn’t really need the extra income, she said, and decided to put the funding towards a platform-style swing that accommodates wheelchairs. She has only been fundraising for a single week, but received $200 from baked goods proceeds and donations, she said. There’s still a way to go, as the kind of swing set she’s hoping to finance is typically around $1,500, plus installation costs, but she hopes to reach her goal by the town’s Autumn Festival and install the swing in the spring.

Wallace said this isn’t the first time she’s headed a community fundraiser – and isn’t even the only one she’s currently working on. As has become a yearly tradition for her, she’s collecting donations to fill backpacks or buy new shoes or coats for local students for back-to-school. Last year, the school supplies benefited 36 families, and this year, she’s already been contacted by about 10 who are in need.

Wallace said she’s confident the community will come through on both projects.

“We have the nicest people in the community. I’m always reaching out, and people always come through,” Wallace said.

Wallace said she’ll be raising funds at the weekly Farmers’ Market until the end of the season for the accessible swing, but residents can also donate directly to the town’s Recreation Department and designate their donation request.

To donate to Wallace’s backpack project, contact her at 978-660-1829 or bayleighlulu@aol.com. To donate for the adaptive swing, contact the Recreation Department or mail donations with checks made out to the Town of New Ipswich to the town offices at 661 Turnpike Road, New Ipswich, attention to the Recreation Department. 


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