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How Did the KHES Playground Project Begin?

The story of this playground project was born from a simple concept – children should be able to play together at recess. Unfortunately, for two kindergarten students back in 2018, this proved to be quite difficult.


A KHES Kindergarten student named Penny came home from school early in the school year and said, “Mom- I want to play with Nola on the playground, but she can’t get to me on the wood chips. That’s not fair and it makes me sad.”


You see, Nola has cerebral palsy and at the time required a wheelchair to move around. The soft mulch and uneven surfaces of the playground meant that she had to be parked in one location or in an adaptive swing for much of her recess time. Meanwhile, her friends without mobility limitations were free to move from place to place without her. It wasn’t long before Nola’s mother heard the same sad story.

“Mama – why can’t I play with my friends?”

It was at that time that Penny and Nola’s parents decided something had to be done. Not just for Penny and Nola, but for all the friends with similar challenges.

Thankfully, a quick email to the principals at Kitty Hawk Elementary School set in motion the plans for an all inclusive playground that would ensure that this never happens again.

Fast forward through the pandemic that threatened to stop this project to today and now the vision of two little girls is finally becoming a reality! Coincidentally around the same time, Dare County Schools recognized that our playgrounds had not been upgraded in quite some time and budgeted $90,000 to help with renovations. In addition, school efforts to raise money through our local Walmart for an inclusive communication board went viral and garnered the attention of corporate Walmart. They loved that we were trying to make our school more inclusive and generously offered a grant of $30,000. While this sounds like quite a bit of money, accessible playgrounds are incredibly costly and in order to make this happen we need to secure upwards of $600-800,000. As a community, we must step up to raise the funds to make this playground completely accessible to every child regardless of their physical limitations. This all-inclusive KHES playground will span from the center of the building out to the front and serve all K-5 students during school hours and, as a bonus, will be open to the entire community when school isn’t in session. Not only will this playground ensure our children at KHES have the opportunity to play without limitations, but so will all the members of our community! 

This project is near and dear to our hearts and we hope you will feel the same.

We need to show our children that an inclusive environment should be the norm, not the exception, and that starts right here.

Let’s make the dream of these two girls a reality! Let’s build an accessible and inclusive future for all of our kids! If there is one thing that we know to be true about the Outer Banks community, it is that we CAN and we WILL do things that make a difference. Lets do this together!



Playground Plans

But at what cost? 

Let us break it down, piece by piece.
  *Coming Soon*




We are happy to be partnering with the Surf Pediatric Foundation, a local non profit organization, to help raise the funds needed to make this project a success! You can now donate via Venmo! (Last four numbers of the phone number is 3320 for confirmation.) If you would like to donate via check, please make checks payable to the Surf Pediatric Foundation with 'Everyone's Playground' in the memo line. This is a great option that saves servicing fees and ensures that your entire donation goes to the playground fund.

These donations can be mailed to: Surf Pediatric Foundation at 5107 N. Croatan Hwy Kitty Hawk, NC 27949.

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