Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Playground to feature Kevin Ollie's Kevin's Kourt.

West Hartford, Conn. (April 9, 2017) – Beneath a colorful “Build it and they will play” banner Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy and West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor led a group of State and community leaders in Groundbreaking Ceremony five years in the making for Jonathan’s Dream Reimagined, a revolutionary new inclusive playground.

The Groundbreaking ceremony, which traded in traditional steel work shovels for children’s play shovels, was held on site adjacent to the Mandell Jewish Community Center on the Zachs Campus in West Hartford.  Joining the Governor and the Mayor were Amy Jaffe Barzach, Co-founder of Jonathan's Dream; Ronit Shoham, Volunteer Project Manager; State Senator Beth Bye; Richard Fechtor, President of Mandell Jewish Community Center; Max Brown, a young tech industry professional has spinal muscular atrophy and uses a wheelchair and representing Kevin’s Kourt, former world professional wheelchair basketball player Ryan Martin.

Jonathan’s Dream Reimagined will have revolutionary new experiences that will enable new generations of children and families of all ages and all abilities to discover the joys of playing together.  The new playground will also include Kevin’s Kourt, an inclusive basketball court donated by Coach Kevin Ollie and the Kevin Ollie Charity Classic.

The original Jonathan's Dream was built in 1996 in memory of Amy and Peter Barzach’s son Jonathan Peter Barzach,“a sweet little boy with old soul eyes”, and was one of America's very first inclusive playgrounds.

“’Build it and they will play’ has been our drive since we first started on this endeavor to rebuild Jonathan’s Dream in 2012,” said Amy Barzach. “Special thanks to Coach Kevin Ollie, who was among the first to support Jonathan’s Dream Reimagined, the Mandell, Braunstein and Goldfarb families, the Town of West Hartford and Senator Beth Bye and the State of Connecticut for helping to make this ‘Dream’ a reality."

New plans for 25,000 square foot Jonathan’s Dream Reimagined were also announced. Construction will be completed early Fall 2017.  Jonathan's Dream is being rebuilt with the support of the community, the PAC Group, which is donating construction management services, and Shane's Inspiration, which donated design services. One hundred volunteers are needed to assemble and install the playground equipment, which will be put together like an “Erector set” under the direction of construction professionals.  For each day of the build, to be scheduled this summer, 10-15 team captains are needed to lead small groups of 20 volunteers per group.  To learn more, become a captain, or reserve a volunteer spot, please contact Frank Day at fday@companionsforliving.com.

Additional funds are needed to reach the fundraising finish line. Play areas, playground equipment, and benches are available for sponsorship.  Donations of all sizes are needed and appreciated. Visit http://www.jonathansdreamreimagined.org/ for more information. 

For more information contact:
Ronit Shoham