Kennedi Baker wants to buy a wheelchair-accessible swing and is eager to scare people into helping her at the Chamber of Chillz.
“In the summer, swinging is one of my favorite things,” the 8-year-old said. “Everybody should be able to swing.”
But the swing Kennedi wants to put on the playground at Shady Grove Elementary in Keller
isn’t for her.
Shopping for a replacement for one that broke in her back yard, the able-bodied girl came across a picture of a wheelchair-accessible model and began to cry, said her mom, Sherri Baker.
“She realized what it was for,” Baker said. “Then she said all kids deserve to feel what it’s like to swing.”
Kennedi has an affinity for special-needs students and, though there’s no official student-helper program at the school, assists them when she can and occasionally reads to them in their classrooms, her mom said.
With help from the school’s principal and assistant principal, Kennedi got approval from the Keller school district
to use the district’s vendors to buy the swing and get it installed. But because it was her idea, the girl didn’t want the district to foot the $16,000 bill.
“She wanted this to be her philanthropy,” Sherri Baker said.
Kennedi enlisted her mom and her dad, Dean Baker, to help raise the money. They, in turn, recruited upwards of 75 other people to help design, engineer, build, operate and act in the 18 rooms of a 5,000-square-foot haunted house in Keller Town Center
. Asking $15 a head for the 15-minute tour — Kennedi said someone who just puts his head down and runs might make it through in 10 minutes — they hoped to at least put a dent in the fundraising goal. They haven’t yet covered expenses, Sherri Baker said.
“So far we’ve maybe had 200 people over the five or six days we’ve been open,” Baker said. “We have a great product, we just haven’t gotten the customers.”
The haunted house has up to 50 people volunteering as actors, but they include people who have scared professionally in big-time haunted houses. The experts have trained the newbies to portray some of the most hideous beings imaginable, Baker said.
“We have zombies, dark figures hidden in all kinds of places, butchers, hillbillies, poltergeists, lunatic girls, insane surgeons, possessed dolls and characters similar to what you’ve seen in horror flicks,” Baker said.
Terry Evans, 817-390-7620 Twitter: @fwstevans
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