Grant #523

Glen Lake Accessible Playground Project

February 20, 2023

A Community School Is Building a Playground That’s Accessible to All

For kids, playgrounds mean freedom. At the playground, kids are allowed to run fast and swing high and use their outdoor voices. They can use their imaginations. 

Betsy Julien, a teacher and parent at Glen Lake Elementary in Minnetonka, Minnesota, sees that magic and joy unfold every single day. Her classroom window overlooks the school playground. But she also sees the children who don’t get to feel quite as liberated. 

Eight of the 460 students who attend Glen Lake Elementary use wheelchairs, making them unable to access the playground. As Betsy explains, “wood chips do not mesh with wheelchairs.” What started as a dream to acquire a wheelchair-accessible swing and merry-go-round for Glen Lake has ballooned into a project to overhaul the entire playground and make all of it available to all students. 

It’s a big and expensive idea and our grant will help fund just one small piece of it, but Betsy has faith that the wider Hopkins School District community will rally together to make this happen. “Inclusive playgrounds are rare and hard to find in cities,” Betsy says. When this one is built, it will be a place where “all can laugh, play, and learn.”

Category: Accessibility, Children, Community, Education



After 11+ years, we’re signing off and closing applications for good. We’ve supported 571 projects with $571,000 in grant dollars. We’re so proud to have celebrated such incredible work. Please visit for more information on other AWESOME chapters! And thanks for sharing so much awesomeness with us.

Team Awesome Without Borders