Happenings Lifestyle

Jonathan’s Dream To Celebrate One-Year Anniversary

Jonathan's Dream Reimagined grand opening. Oct. 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

The new Jonathan’s Dream – a revolutionary and completely inclusive playground that was built on the site of the original Jonathan’s Dream at the Mandell JCC in West Hartford – will celebrate its first anniversary the weekend of Oct. 20-21.

The ribbon is cut, and Jonathan’s Dream Reimagined opens in West Hartford on Oct. 22, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

It was rebuilt – with as much love and sweat equity as the original version – and the children have come and they are playing.

Moments after the ribbon was cut for the new Jonathan’s Dream on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, kids of all ages and abilities passed under the rainbow arch and, wide-eyed and smiling, began playing on West Hartford’s completely accessible and inclusive playground.

On the weekend of Oct. 20 and 21, Jonathan’s Dream will celebrate the first anniversary of the new playground, and the public is invited to join in the festivities.

“It is hard to believe Jonathan’s Dream is turning one,” said Ronit Shoham, who served as volunteer project manager for the rebuilding of the playground.

Reflecting on the past year, she highlighted just some of the positive activities and feedback that has been received about what many people now call the “park.”

Jonathan’s Dream has hosted multi-generational story time with the Hebrew Center, celebrated Harry Potter’s birthday and the birthdays of countless children, and hosted field trips for school groups – some of which are considering building their own inclusive playground.

On Saturday of the anniversary weekend, from 10 a.m.-noon, the highlighted activity will be a visit from guide dog handlers and puppy raisers. There will be a discussion of how the dogs are trained and what they can do to help the handlers. There will be an opportunity to ask questions as well.

The official celebration will take place on Sunday, Oct. 21, from 1-3 p.m. The public is invited and each child will receive a giveaway and birthday treats. Food will be available for purchase from the Toasted and PopCentric food trucks.

According to Shoham, Mayor Shari Cantor will be attending and will be “performing her famous ‘cartwheels on heels.”

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