The friendliest city in America is working to become more inclusive. Accessible Murray is a public campaign started by the Center for Accessible Living to create a more disability friendly community.
They're creating a panel to recognize businesses and organizations like, Playhouse in the Park that goes above and beyond making Murray more disability friendly.
Playhouse in the Park's Penguin Project provides opportunities for children with disabilities to develop creative skills through Community Theater.
Director Holly Bloodworth hopes this new campaign encourages everyone to make inclusion a goal.
“Just no matter what kind of business you have or what kind of offerings you do have it should just include everyone. We all need to work together to try to figure out ways to make that happen,” Bloodworth said.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports nearly 1 in 5 people in the U.S. have a disability.
This year Playhouse in the Park and the Penguin Project are putting on Peter Pan Jr.
Mentor Cassie Wooley and artist Morgan Elliott have been doing this long enough to pick favorites. Morgan says Peter Pan Jr. is his favorite play. He has the role of a pirate and Indian in it.
“My favorite part has been seeing these kids like kind of blossom, and not be scared to be themselves,” Wooley said.
Pirate Tyler Jones loves making the audience crack up.
“I make the people in the audience, on the seats, laugh, because what I say when Captain Hook says, ‘you idiot’ my part is ‘mama!’” Jones said.
They're experiences, Accessible Murray is hoping they can encourage in other places by using a two-tiered recognition system.
Playhouse in the Park already meets the first set of requirements because it's ADA accessible, but they would be classified in the second-tier because they go above and beyond in making Murray a more disability friendly community.
For the last three years, the Penguin Project has provided opportunities that can help everyone grow.
“In our abilities and comfort level, and all of those things. That's the real magic of the Penguin Project,” Bloodworth said.
“I feel very blessed to have been able to do this and that's really the only way I can sum it up,” Wooley said.
A bond Wooley says feels more like family than friends.
Peter Pan Junior runs through next weekend at Playhouse in the Park in Murray. Showtimes are Friday, and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
To learn more about Accessible Murray you can read the attached news release below:
100 Television Lane
Paducah, KY 42003