The Help Group and Hasbro Studios joined together on Thursday to welcome a brand new Boundless Playground designed specifically for children with autism spectrum disorders at The Help Group's brand new autism center in Sherman Oaks. The new center--part of The Help Group's preexisting seven specialized day schools for over 1,300 students with special needs--will officially open to students on Monday, where they will surely make great use of the playground that sits just outside the building's doors. "To look at this new playground is to see a colorful, inviting, engaging space... filled with wonderful features that will surely enrich the experiences of our children," said Dr. Barbara Firestone, President and CEO of The Help Group.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, guests enjoyed breakfast and mingling, but perhaps the greatest joy was watching the children sing two songs, one thanking Hasbro for the wonderful gift. "To meet you and hear you sing, is the greatest honor," said Steve Davis, President of Hasbro Studios (who in addition to Karen Davis, Vice-President of Community Relations for Hasbro) received a plaque designed by the children to show their appreciation.
Actor Gary Cole, The Help Group Celebrity Spokesperson and Parent Advocate (his daughter was diagnosed with an autism disorder in 1993), pointed to the sign above the ribbon and said, "I like that it says 'Boundless.' This means possibility, which is one thing parents whose children were diagnosed years ago, longed for." The playground will provide possibility and "most of all, the joy of play," said Firestone.