Municipalities across the country have bustling community centers and recreation programs that engage children and adults in activities and sports leagues. The summer is particularly vibrant as out-of-school programs keep kids active, safe, and in many communities, fed.
One local community in particular stands out, not just for its level of engagement, but for its vision of what’s possible.
In a corner of western Franklin County, between the massive communities of Columbus, Hilliard, and Grove City, sits Prairie Township. While the township is small in population, the Prairie Township Community Center serves 7,000 members from 115 zip codes across Central Ohio. To put that in perspective, Franklin County has 64 zip codes. The breadth of the center’s reach is significant, but why? One word — leadership.
James Gant leads the community center and Prairie Township’s Recreation Department. He knows its members by name and fosters a culture that welcomes all. You can feel it when you walk through the front doors.
The west side needed the hope and positive energy created by the center. As a community, they have seen more than their fair share of hard times with the loss of industry and jobs. Chris Haydocy, President of Haydocy Automotive and of Weston Vision, has been the leading advocate for investment on the far west side. James Gant is answering that call by lifting up and serving all neighbors.
The best example of what’s next for the community is the One Field campaign — a project that keeps children from being sidelined because of a disability.
One Field will be a specially-designed artificial turf field that gives children with disabilities the chance to play field sports, such as soccer. The field’s surface technology is firm enough for wheelchair use, soft enough to prevent concussions, and innovative enough that it works for typically developing young athletes, too.
One in five children in the US have a disability, and that number is rising. Children with disabilities are less active and 57% more likely to be obese than children without disabilities. Additionally, they have a much greater risk for developing secondary health conditions.
At Prairie Township Community Center, they believe that communities are stronger when everyone has an opportunity to engage in meaningful activities. They envision a fun and healthy community where people of all abilities are able to participate. We couldn’t be prouder to call them a partner and a client.
Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO