The center’s playground will have wheelchair access and sensory play features as well as traditional playground equipment so all children can use the space, said Crystal Cardwell, development and marketing director at The Parenting Center in Fort Worth.
“This will create a playground where children feel confident in playing,” Cardwell said.
The Parenting Center is one of six North Texas charities that received gifts Tuesday during a tree lighting ceremony described as the “Biggest Living Christmas Tree in Texas.” The event, held at Texas Motor Speedway, opens the season of giving with the Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter.
“The Founder’s Grant was designed to provide a substantial and impactful grant to organizations for the funding major capital improvement projects,” TMS President Eddie Gossage said in a statement.
The holiday event also featured fireworks, a visit from Santa Claus and the distribution of 100 bicycles to youngsters.
Since 1997, Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter has been assisting charities in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties, handing out $10.2 million.
The funds are raised through special events that take place throughout the year. Charity dollars are raised during three major race weekends at the Speedway. The three main annual events include two NASCAR races held in April and November and an IndyCar race in June.
The Parenting Center received this year’s Founder’s Grant for $125,000. Five other charities in North Texas received awards at Tuesday’s event, including Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center of Dallas and a Wish with Wings of Fort Worth.
Cardwell said The Parenting Center serves children with a number of needs, including abuse, bullying and other emotional challenges. At the playground, they hope to conduct play therapy for youngsters as well as to offer a place to have fun, she said. Between 13,000 to 18,000 individuals receive services from The Parenting Center every year, Cardwell said, adding that about 50 percent are children.
She said the new park will offer sand boxes and other sensory play that will help youngsters while offering an open space for exploration and discovery.