New Bedford's Carney Academy is seeking the community's help to give long-overdue upgrades to a playground.

If you've ever driven by and said to yourself, "Wow, that play area looks small and outdated," then you were spot on.

With more than 650 students who attend the pre-kindergarten to fifth-grade school, this small excuse for a playground is insufficient.

Carney Academy adjustment counselor Heather Macedi-Medeiros finally said "enough is enough" and is spearheading the project to expand, upgrade, update and make the playground safer and more inclusive.

"As of right now, we can only allow one classroom at a time to use the old playground that we have; that's how small it is," said Katelyn Weigel, a Carney special education teacher. "We have a large autism population here at Carney as well as students with sensory needs. There are also students in wheelchairs who can't even access the playground. What we need is something better, more engaging, and more inclusive."

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Noah's Playground in New Bedford is the inspiration behind this movement for change. The staff would like to mirror the inclusiveness the Pope's Island playground has to offer so that Carney students can play together.

"This project is necessary and we want to raise money to help out the kids," Weigel said. "They've gone through a lot with Covid and this would help lift their spirits and bring the fun back to school. It truly needs a revamp."

A group of staff, school counselors nand specialists have rallied behind Macedi-Medeiros to help raise the funds needed to make this playground come to life.

Here's where the community can help.

A comedy show has been organized by a company called Funny 4 Funds that will allow parents and anyone age 18 or older to enjoy a fun night out to see local comics, all while raising money to benefit playground upgrades.

The show will be held on Friday, April 29, 7:30 p.m., at United Fisherman's Club, 639 Orchard St., New Bedford.

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