At Mondays with Michele, I had the pleasure of hearing a proposal from a bright young lady named Melanie McNair. She’s 11 and extremely intelligent, driven and compassionate. She came to me to share her big idea and stayed in my office for about an hour discussing it. She wants to see a universally accessible park built from the ground up in Las Vegas. By universally accessible, she means swings, slides, merry-go-rounds, bridges and more, that can be enjoyed by ALL children, including kids in wheelchairs. She wants a brand new park explicitly built, from top to bottom, with ALL children in mind, so that all kids can enjoy every activity in this park – creating a place where all kids will feel included.
What was even more captivating than this conversation with a caring youth, was that this wasn’t just an abstract idea; she came to me with research. She recently was ranked #6 for her age group in a nationwide scholarship contest called “Engineering Girl.” She wrote an essay about other parks around America that have the accessible equipment she was proposing; it fully described everything that is currently available to put in a park like this. Her inspiration came through her own life experiences, being the daughter of teacher Brenda McNair, who now teaches children on the autism spectrum. Melanie came to Mondays with Michele accompanied by her mother, Brenda, and her Scholarship Coach, Rhea M. Watson from Scholarship Solutions. It was indeed a great afternoon, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of Melanie McNair in the future.