Listen to the iHeartMedia interview with Marc Levan.
Every playground needs a We-Go-Round! Universal Universe’s original merry-go-round is currently broken and was never accessible to wheelchairs. Our #1 fundraising goal is to purchase a We-Go-Round, a fully accessible ride designed with fun and safety in mind.
Donate here: Sacdreamplayground.com
Jonnie and Friends Reach for the Stars is a tribute to Jonnie Laver. As a young child, Jonnie loved the outdoors and playing with friends. After complications from meningitis, Jonnie became reliant on a wheelchair for mobility, and his family devoted their time to finding opportunities for Jonnie to play and thrive.
Over the years, Jonnie’s parents, Marc and Linda, and his younger sister Carolyn, became advocates for adding accessible play features in new and future playgrounds. In 2005, Jonnie and his family were asked by the City of Sacramento to help cut the ribbon at the opening of Southside Park’s Universal Universe playground, one of the first all-access playgrounds in Northern California.
Having a place where kids of all abilities could play was a first for many children and families in the Sacramento area, and the Universal Universe playground became a favorite of Jonnie’s. For the next 13 years, Jonnie spent countless hours enjoying the playground, and the Laver family saw firsthand the many benefits of inclusive play for kids. They also saw the wear and tear that years of usage had on Jonnie’s favorite playground.
Following Jonnie’s passing in 2019, the Laver family wanted to to give back to the community. That’s when they set the wheels in motion to restore Universal Universe’s playground to its previous glory by launching Jonnie and Friends Reach for the Stars.