'Adam's Adventure' holding family fun day

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Tolland/Region - posted Fri., Aug. 26, 2011
This design shows what the Adam's Adventure playground will look like. Image courtesy of Adam's Adventure/O'Brien and Sons, Inc. - Contributed Photo

In 2009, 7-year-old Tolland resident Adam Mlodzinski was stricken with bacterial meningitis. After being in a coma for months, Adam made great strides toward recovery, but was left permanently blind. The Tolland community came together to support the Mlodzinski family in many ways, and that support continued after Adam returned home.

Kate Mlodzinski, Adam's mother, said neighbor Alison Knybel came to her after the family returned home from a long hospital stay, and said several people wanted to plan a benefit.

“I didn't want the town of Tolland to give us any more, because so many people had helped us with so many different things,” Mlodzinski said. “I thought other people could benefit from a playground for kids who have autism or are in a wheelchair.”

Several people wanted to do something more long-term, and the idea for “Adam's Adventure” took flight.

he “Adam's Adventure” playground will be located at Cross Farms Recreation Complex, and will accommodate children with disabilities including mobility impairments, auditory disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, cognitive impairments and visual disabilities.

Mlodzinski said the location was chosen in part because Adam was an avid soccer player, and Cross Farms has several playing fields.
“He was a kid who didn't watch TV,” she said. “He was outside playing. He was very physical, so we thought that would be the perfect spot for it.”

The effort soon blossomed into what is now a committee of more than 50 local residents who meet once a month. The group has raised $32,000 to date, through donations and fundraisers (including an ongoing bracelet sale), but will need an estimated $500,000. When $150,000 is raised, the group can proceed with the next step of design and procuring equipment.

The group is also working on obtaining a 501(c)3 non-profit status, which will enable it to seek grants and other funding.

“We're really hoping to build this in three years,” Mlodzinski said. “There's really a need. There are a lot of kids with autism and other disabilities.”

Andy Berger of O'Brien and Sons of Medford, Mass., created the design for the playground. The firm has designed several playgrounds in New England.

“We have terrific people on our board,” Mlodzinski said. “They just make things happen. That's why we've had so much success so far. I can't say enough about them. They really are terrific.”

Mlodzinski said the project has provided emotional support for her and her family.

“It just kind of brings your hope back,” she said, “that something good is going to come out of this nightmare.”

The group is planning a Family Fun Day at Brialee Campground in Ashford on Sept. 10, which will include mini-golf, ping-pong, relay races, face-painting, a whiffle ball tournament, food and musical entertainment. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for kids.

On Sept. 17, the group will also be at the Celebrate Tolland event.

For more information, visit www.adamsadventure.org.

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