Monday, June 29, 2009

The building of a dream!

Stand up and Hold On To Your Dream
Maybe this is your moment
Stand up and Hold On To Your Dream
You know no one can take it
There is a path it's always been yours
And you have the right of passage
Signed in blood and sealed in tears
Sending you a message
Across the miles and thru the years
Stand up (and be there) and Hold On To Your Dream
With some faith and conviction
The building of a dream!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, June 25, 2009

So you want to start a non profit 10 Things you will need to know.

First let me say, “Congratulations for wanting to be the change in the world that makes it a better place.” Coming up with a dream is a wonderful thing but actually taking it to the next level and making that dream an organization is both exciting and a lot of work.

Today’s world is filled with paper work whether it be from your state, county, maybe even city and sometimes it feels like it takes weeks on end to go through all of it and at times it feels unnecessary but it is a task that must be completed. You need to make sure that you have covered your entire trail or something will come back to bite you in the end. So PLEASE, make sure you cover all of your bases. Ok, that is my little soap box lesson on “covering your bases” of paperwork. There is so much to starting a nonprofit so let’s just jump in and “go” there are dreams waiting…

1. You need to come up with a name for your organization and you will need to come up with a logo which describes to the world who you are.

2. You need to form a Board of Directors.

3. You will need to come up with a mission statement that explains in one clear sentence what it is you are trying to accomplish and why it is important.

4. You need to file all of you legal paperwork to form your organization.

5. You will need to file with the IRS to get a Tax Id number.

6. You will need to register with the Secretary of State of your organization as a business.

7. You need to start to open a bank account.

8. Join the professional organization which your organization will help. Start networking with people in that community.

9. You are going to have to come up with a budget for your project and find a way to “fund your dream.”

10. And last but definitely not least, you will need to find volunteers who believe in your mission because it takes a lot of man power to build a dream!

Each one of these is vital to starting and running a successful nonprofit organization. I will dedicate a weekly post to each one of these. I know this might sound like a lot but remember I did it and if I could do it you can do it! *Cheering* Although I am your biggest cheering section I would also like to say this information is based on my personal experience and it is my hope to be used to help you as a guide but not to be used in place of legal advice. If you have any questions at anytime feel free to drop me an email or leave it in the comment section.
So you want to start a non profit 10 Things you will need to know.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wonderful Playgrounds Wednesday; My Friends at Shane's Inspiration

Back in early 1998 while I was in the “building phase” of Hadley’s Park I had heard of an organization in Los Angeles that was planning on creating a fully inclusive playground and I thought, “Wow! Someone else with the same vision, of a place for all children, someone who was doing the same thing that I was doing clear across the country, I would love to meet these people and learn about what they were planning on doing. So that is exactly what I did, I made a phone call introduced myself to one of their founders, Catherine, traded a few frequent flier miles, grabbed one of my board members and we were off to California to meet the new crew of what today is known as “Shane’s Inspiration.”

Shane’s Inspiration was created by Catherine Curry-Williams and Scott Williams in memory of their son Shane Alexander who had passed away the year before of Spinal Muscular Atrophy only a few weeks after his birth. Had Shane lived, he would have spent his life in a wheelchair. Because of a physical disability, Shane would have been denied one of the most fundamental rights of childhood: the right to play independently with friends and family at neighborhood and school playgrounds. This realization encouraged the Williams and family friend Tiffany Harris to turn a tragedy into a vision that resulted in Shane's Inspiration... a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children with disabilities.

I was so glad to take the trip out there and meet the entire group of fine folks and listen to their story; we laughed, we cried, we shared our visions but most of all we bonded over a common cause. I cannot believe that was 11 years ago! Shane’s Inspiration is very close to my family’s heart and I will write much more about them over the course of this blog. But right now I just wanted to introduce you to them and to their wonderful work!

Upon completion Shane's Inspiration gave a gift to thousands of Los Angeles children through the creation of an environment where all children can play together at the highest level of their ability. With the support of visionary community leaders, Shane's Inspiration created the first Universally Accessible Playground in the Western United States. Located in Griffith Park, “Shane’s Inspiration” provides two acres of fully accessible, sensory-rich and physically challenging equipment.

In June 2002 they started an inclusive play program called “Shane’s Club.” with a small group of committed families which has grown to almost 1,000 members today!

Run today by Tiffany Harris, I applaud this wonderful organization for all it does for all children! If you live in the Los Angeles area I invite you to go visit this wonderful playground. Should you want to get involved in helping them raise funds to build playgrounds, an exceptional woman named Marci Moran is head of their events, and I know she would be glad to have you stop by and say “hi!” But right now you can help them with a simple click of the mouse, by giving them your vote for the Best Playground in LA on the Nick’s Parents site. I know somewhere Shane is smiling!
Wonderful Playgrounds Wednesday; My Friends at Shane's InspirationSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, June 15, 2009

She did it again!

I know it is late 11:15pm est. but in the spirit of Magical Design Monday, I still have a few more minutes of this day. I just had to brag a bit about my new blog design that the gifted and talented Danielle at the Design Girl created for me. (Again!) For those of you who know me, you know that the Design Girl created the design of my other kingdom which I love so much too! I wanted to give this site a cheery, whimsical, fun and simply put “magical” feel and I think she did a wonderful job. What do you think?

To see this talented ladies blog check her out, and please make sure you tell her that your friend “the playground princess” sent you by!
She did it again!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Recently I began to think about how I wanted to organize this blog and how I think it would help others in various aspects of their lives; whether they want to create a playground or raise funds for whatever comes close to their hearts. I took an idea from my heart and brought it to fruition and you can too. That is what I hope to do here.

I decided to give each week day a different subject. I am so excited to share with all of you what I came up with:

Magical Design Monday; which will go into the theme’s of the different playgrounds that I designed or other elements of design which you might find interesting.

Tip Tuesday; everything you will want to know about creating a nonprofit organization. I did it so can you!

Wonderful Playgrounds Wednesday; this is where we will look around the country at other projects. I invite you to share your projects with me so we can feature them here.

Good Thing Thursday; this is “open call” to anything that I might find interesting, it might be a feature on a nonprofit organization, or something to introduce children to or maybe I will even have a “give a way” or two. My blog, my call! But you can be sure it will be enchanting.

“fun”raising Friday; this will go into various ideas that I have used to raise funds to create playgrounds, but you can use them for whatever you might be raising money for.

My hope in giving this blog “organization” is that it will further me a little and give me a chance to reflect and at the same time I hope to be able to pass along some of that magic onto you.
Work-in-ProgressSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wordless Wednesday, Welcomes you to Holland..

I have often used this short story when speaking about the importance of play for all children, so for those of you who I have not had the honor of sharing it with for you “Welcome to Holland”.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
Wordless Wednesday, Welcomes you to Holland..SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend