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The Magical Bridge Playground in Palo Alto is legendary.

Parents who have children with disabilities drive up to a few hours to come to the playground because it’s one of the most innovative parks in the country.

Magical Bridge‘s mission is simple but powerful:

“All should experience the magic of play, including children and adults with disabilities and special needs, those from economically challenged homes or underfunded schools, and those who long for a secure spot to feel the freedom of swinging, sliding, spinning, and finding new friends.”

Not long ago, Esther Lucas visited this innovative and all-inclusive park.

That’s when she got a really big idea.

Esther is an 18-year-old Girl Scout. And she was on the hunt for a project that could help her earn her Gold Award—something only 5.4% of Girl Scouts ever earn in their lifetime.

According to the official Girl Scouts website, the Gold Award requires that each Girl Scout:

Identify a community issue they care about, research everything they can about the issue, invite others to support and take action with them, create a project plan that achieves sustainable and measurable impact, and take the lead to carry out their plan.

So Esther got to work.

She drafted a plan, approved it with the Girl Scout Council and then presented it to the Sunnyvale City Council.

The only catch? A park like this would cost up to 4.2 Million dollars to complete.

“I had never done anything like this before,” Esther told reporters. “So I was extremely nervous.”

But, what the City Council did next was a huge surprise to Esther and other members of the community:

The Sunnyvale City Council unanimously agreed with her idea and approved the project. They committed $1.8 Million to the project and the Magical Bridge Foundation plans to raise the remaining $2.4 Million needed to make Esther’s plans a reality.

“I really did think that it was a long shot,” Esther explained. “When it did happen, I thought I was dreaming. I was really surprised.”

But the Mayor of Sunnyvale said it was a no-brainer: “How can you go wrong with the great idea that says ‘let’s be more inclusive for play’?”

Construction on the park should begin in the next year. But Esther’s inspiring story is touching hearts already.

Watch the video below for more detail and the full story:




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