Fundamental in the process for developing fully inclusive play spaces for young children, Jason and Jennifer Evchich of Pendleton have been on the frontline almost four years now, finding success in their endeavors thanks to hard work and a ton of community support.
Jason and Jennifer have had three children, one girl and two boys, both boys afflicted with a still undiagnosed form of Hypomyelinating Leukodystrophy. A condition disabling your ability to walk, talk, and ultimately, interact with other children.
Jason and Jennifer want to change that, with the development of playgrounds made accessible for kids and caretaking adults, the stigma of disability will dissipate; Jennifer Evchich, stating, “We want them all to play together, so there’s no difference.”
This was not an easy event for Jason and Jennifer. Within recent months, Matthew (Mason’s younger brother, b. 2014) passed away unexpectedly. The aftermath of this tragedy on a life so young was visibly difficult on both parents, but for such a worthy cause this couple opted to fight through their grief, committing themselves to building hope for families like their own.
Jason Evchich took time from the packed event, giving an update on what is planned to be the first all-inclusive waterpark at Mason’s Mission main park in Pendleton; stating, “We’re trying to create an independent electronic track system. Basically, you put your child, who may or may not be in a wheelchair, on this track system, and they can independently tour the whole waterpark on their own.”
Jason added, “It’s a little challenging at times. It’s never been done before.”
Lastly, Jason gave gratitude for the outpouring of support in his hometown of Pendleton, commenting on how his group was able to get so much done and so fast:
“Being in Pendleton, we couldn’t have done what we did anywhere else in a timeframe that we did it. The question that I get a lot is: How did you get that all done in such a short period of time? It’s because of where we live, and because of our leadership. We sold this event out in a day-and-a-half.”
For more information on Mason’s Mission Foundation: https://masonsmissionfoundation.org/