And the winners are…

We’re excited to announce that Wheaton Park District in Wheaton, Ill., is the grand prize winner of the Together We Play™ essay contest for their Sensory Garden Playground Initiative!

We’re also proud to announce the five runner-up winners of Together We Play:

  1. City of Gig Harbor, Wash.
  2. The FUNdation, South Elgin, Ill.
  3. Princess Alexa Foundation, Keller, Texas
  4. Kate’s Kause, Elmira, Ontario, Canada
  5. City of Lewiston, Maine

Keep working toward your goal. Your community–especially the children–will appreciate the work you’re doing to create a place where people of all abilities can play together. Stay inspired; check back to watch the progress of the contest projects here.

Final announcement coming soon

We are finalizing a few last details before announcing the winners of the Together We Play™ contest. Thank you all for your interest in the contest, and even more for your commitment to inclusive play. We expect to make the final announcement of the GRAND PRIZE and RUNNER UP winners within the next 24 to 48 hours. Keep checking back!

Guest Blog: Connecting with communities

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Hear from Stephani Victor, Paralympic gold medalist and Together We Play™ essay contest judge, as she makes her way through the piles of amazing essay submissions.

I am deeply moved by all of the essays I have read and feel equally inspired by the expansive vision of so many applicants and their ability to identify and address their community’s needs. I feel a great sense of pride for our country and, as an athlete for Team USA, have had the privilege to travel all over the U.S. Judging this inclusive playground contest has felt like journey back to so many places I have visited. Now I have a chance to connect with those communities in a meaningful way as I read about their dreams to bring inclusive play for all to their community. I am really grateful to share in this magnificent project to make dreams a reality.

The contest is now closed

Thank you for your interest in the Together We Play essay contest. The contest is now closed, and we are beginning the judging process. We are overwhelmed by your commitment to inclusive play, and are excited to read the essay submissions.

The final announcement of Grand Prize and Regional winners will be on or around Sept. 30, 2011. You can stay up-to-date on the judging process and more right here.

The countdown is on

It’s Sunday evening, and I’m curious how many people are still working on their essays for the Together We Play contest. Since last Friday, we’ve received 15 essay submissions a day. That brings our total to more than 100!

So far, we’ve received essays representing 32 states and four Canadian provinces. Do you think we can achieve representation from all of them?

The contest closes tomorrow, Aug. 1, at 11:59:59 p.m. PST. Be sure to submit your essays via playlsi.com before midnight! If you need any further motivation to finish your essays, check out this video.