The Lions Step In
Liz was determined to find a way to create a place where children of all abilities could come together and play. After some research, Liz began to plan for a new playground. But with a cost of nearly US$750,000, it would take a lot more than she could give.
Liz rallied the local Lions, and with a generous US$75,000 grant from LCIF, the project began. Lions from 45 clubs went on to raise almost US$500,000. They also joined forces with other community groups to build the park themselves. In just eight days, 3,000 volunteers erected the 12,000 square foot playground. Ron Hudson from the Dawn Breakers Lions Club was one of them. “I spent eight days building Matteo’s Dream,” he said, “and it was the best thing I have ever done in my life.”
Open to Everyone
When “Matteo’s Dream: A Playground for Children of All Abilities” opened to the public, local parents like Tamara Borba were elated. They finally had a place where their children could play alongside siblings with special needs. “To have Matteo’s Dream in our neighborhood is wonderful,” said Borba. “Both my kids can play. Nicky can be set free. He can wheel himself up and down the ramps and play with everything.” Laura Hoffmesiter, the former mayor of Concord, added, “The dream really did become a reality. And we hope this can become a model for other communities.”
This project reestablished the Concord Lions Club with Liz as the charter president. The Concord Lions Club not only maintains the playground – but it also holds club meetings there.