New therapy playground for Gulf Coast children open in Long Beach

With a vision of a healthy Mississippi, the Children’s Center for Communication and Development cut the ribbon for their new therapy playground today in Long Beach.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation awarded a grant of $323,540 to the Children’s Center at the University of Southern Miss through the USM Foundation.

Tuesday, kids involved with the center helped cut the ribbon and broke open the gates to a new learning opportunity.

The playground will serve as an outdoor therapy space for children with complex disabilities who receive cost-free services from the Children’s Center.

It is also an inclusive play space for children in the Gulf Coast region both with and without developmental disabilities. Children’s Center at USM Director Sarah Myers said, “When we talk about play outside, the children think they’re just outside playing, but what they’re truly doing is working on several of their development milestones with their physical therapists, their speech therapist. They may be interacting with a friend to take turns on a swing, they may be learning to pedal a bike which is a developmentally appropriate skill so they’re doing a lot of work out there, but you wouldn’t know it by watching them.”

The Children’s Center plans to host play dates for children and families within the community, helping promote inclusion.

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