In the News!

The Herald

Published: Dec 01, 2010 02:00 AM
Modified: Nov 30, 2010 03:48 PM

Film spotlights park project

BY COLIN CAMPBELL, Staff Writer

A child uses a specially outfitted swing set during the filming of “Partnership to Build a Miracle.”

SMITHFIELD – The fundraising campaign is just gearing up, but already, plans for a playground and ballpark for kids with disabilities is getting attention.The inclusion playground and “Miracle Field” ballpark in Smithfield are subjects of “Partnership to Build a Miracle,” a short, documentary-style film by Carrboro filmmaker Nic Beery. 

“It touches hearts,” said Dwight Morris, executive director of the Johnston County Partnership for Children, which is leading the fundraising campaign.

“It’s been amazing,” Morris said of response to the playground and ballpark. “People are excited about it, and they want to invest in it.”

The film brought some audience members to tears during a screening at the Ava Gardner Independent Film Festival in October.

Beery attributes the film’s emotional nature to the disabled children it features. Local kids are shown visiting an inclusion playground in Cary, which is similar to what’s planned for Smithfield.

“We were moved, and we were also inspired,” Beery said. “Here’s a young person that can barely walk, but he wants to slide down that slide. This guy is having a great time with numerous challenges.”

In one scene, a wheelchair-bound youngster rolls up to an elevated sandbox, playing in the classic playground staple for what might be the first time. In another, a boy crawls into home plate for a run.

Beery said he spent about two months putting the film together, although he shot all of the footage in a single day because of the production’s limited budget. Beery and his crew interviewed parents of kids who’ll benefit from the new park, and they talked to coordinators for the Miracle League, a baseball league for kids with disabilities.

Morris, the nonprofit director, said the film will be a huge help as the Partnership for Children starts raising the $1.1 million needed for the park. “The Partnership decided we needed something more visual to help people see what we’re creating,” he said.

Major fundraising events will be announced in the coming months, Morris said. The inclusion playground will be the first of its kind in Johnston County and offer equipment that’s accessible to children with and without disabilities, allowing them to play together. Key components will likely be a wheelchair-accessible surface such as soft rubber, swings with additional support and seat belts and a slide with a ramp leading up to it. One area of the playground will house activities that stimulate the senses, such as noisemakers and flowing water.

The Miracle League’s new rubber-surface baseball diamond will be next to the playground. Both will be built next to Smithfield Community Park.

To view “Partnership to Build a Miracle,” go to pfcjc.org and click on the link in the lower right-hand corner.

colin.campbell@nando.com or 919-836-5768

One Response to In the News!

  1. Thanks Colin Campbell for writing such a wonderful article! We are so excited about this project bringing children together to participate in recreational sports in Johnston County.

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