Preston’s Playground grew from the idea that everyone deserves the chance to play and have fun.

It was that mindset that prompted Deb Buenaga and Nic DeCaire to create the first Inclusion Means Everyone 5K in July 2015, a unique event that welcomed people of all mobility levels to participate.

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The race drew more than 250 people on a holiday weekend. The excitement from this race and the idea of inclusion led to the idea of another Inclusion 5K in October 2015, which brainstormed the idea of raising money for an adaptable playground. A playground which all children will be able to play together.

With that, Preston’s Playground was born.

Deb and Nic worked with the City of Newark to secure open space for the playground at the Newark Reservoir. Plans for Preston’s Playground were designed by PlayCore, a Tennessee company that has a specially designed inclusion program.

Preston’s Playground will be a safe, shaded space measuring 8,400 square feet with a rubber base and three enter/exit ramps to allow easy access to and from the play areas. It will include slides, rock walls, tunnels and steering wheels and telescopes for imaginative play. Each piece of equipment will be usable by all, including a Rock ’N Wave boat that is wheelchair accessible. And all kids will be able to feel the breeze on their face, whether they take a ride on one of the standard swings, Made-for-Me ADA-accessible swings or belted swings.

Why focus on inclusion, even when other accessible playgrounds are located a car ride away? First of all, Delaware needs more inclusive options for recreation. Delaware may be small, but more than 13 percent of its residents have a disability – that’s more than 100,000 children and adults who may not be able to be active on a traditional playground..

Preston’s Playground is about making inclusive play the expectation and not the exception in Delaware. This matters for all of us, whether or not we have mobility or cognitive challenges. It say something about how we value meaningful play experiences for people of all ages and abilities.

Preston’s Playground is a dream on its way to becoming a reality later this year. We’re working hard – holding fundraisers, asking corporations and individuals to support us and writing grants as well.

But we need your help. Join us on this project so all children can play together, side by side.

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A Few of Our Founders

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Nic DeCaire

Nic DeCaire believes that to be a good business owner, you also need to be a good neighbor. That perspective is reflected in the way he runs his businesses, Fusion Fitness Center and Fusion Racing. His focus is more than just the bottom line – he builds connections by bringing people together for the benefit of their health and the community.

Nic opened Fusion Fitness Center in 2006, making a reality out of a childhood dream to open a place to help people change their lives. In 2014, he started Fusion Racing, which works with nonprofit organizations looking to raise money through charity races.

He is the founder and chairman of the Main Street Mile, which has raised more than $80,000 for the Newark K-9 Fund. Through fitness challenges at Fusion and races organized through his timing company, Nic has helped with fundraising efforts to benefit the Blood Bank of Delmarva, Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation and Delaware Humane Association, among others.

Giving back to the community is part of Nic’s DNA. But it wasn’t until Fusion held a fundraiser for Preston’s March for Energy that he learned about the need for more recreational opportunities for inclusion in Delaware. After meeting Deb Buenaga, executive director of Preston’s March for Energy, Nic became a champion of inclusion.

He and Deb created the “Inclusion Means Everyone” 5Ks to encourage everyone – no matter their level of ability – to be active. That hope continues with Preston’s Playground.

Nic likes to say that fitness changed his life. He hopes that by promoting inclusion and creating accessible spaces like Preston’s Playground, it also can change children’s lives.

Deb Buenaga

Deb is a mom with a mission when it comes to advocating for her son, Preston.

Preston was born with developmental delays and low muscle tone caused by mitochondrial disease. He has needed extra services and advocacy since the beginning of his life. Through it all, Deb has been there for Preston, now a thriving 17-year-old student at Concord High School.

Deb has a passion for helping children. She spent 14 years as a preschool teacher, many of those years in an inclusion classroom. Before becoming a teacher, Deb worked in the nonprofit field, employed by the American Heart Association and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

That knowledge of the nonprofit world and her love for children eventually led Deb to her current full-time job as co-founder and executive director of Preston’s March For Energy, a national organization that provides adaptive bikes to children with special needs.

Deb started running with Preston three years ago, pushing him in a running chair. Since then, they have run many races together and enjoyed promoting inclusion running. In March 2016, Deb and Preston will be running their first marathon together in Virginia Beach. Crossing the finish line together is what it is all about – when Preston holds up his arms and screams with delight that is exactly what inclusion looks like!

Deb met Nic DeCaire in 2014. With more people sharing the message of inclusion running, the pair planned the Inclusion Means Everyone 5K in Newark, DE on July 4th, 2015.

Many people were thrilled with the concept – more than 250 people participated – and word quickly spread about the popularity of inclusion running. Buoyed by the popularity of the inaugural event, a second Inclusion 5K was held Oct. 11, 2015. Proceeds from this race went to the first stages of the fundraising for Preston’s Playground.

Deb can’t wait for the opportunity to play on the all-adaptive playground with Preston, his friends and so many other children who all deserves the opportunity to play together!