FRANKLIN (WITI) -- Playing is such a big part of a child's life. Besides the health benefits, it's just fun! Unfortunately though, not all are able to enjoy playgrounds, but that's about to change in Franklin!
The student body at Ben Franklin Elementary School in Franklin recently welcomed Dennis Wille to their school. Wille solicited ideas from children at the school for a playground he'll design.
"This is actually a dream, and we're collecting dreams and ideas this morning," Wille said.
The dream was that of Kayla Runte -- a Ben Franklin Elementary School student who has passed away.
"Kayla had many challenges and the kids here that knew her really worked with her and enjoyed being with her," Wille said.
Runte had cerebral palsy and used a wheelchair.
During her short time at the school, she touched many, including her first-grade classmate Abby Masloroff.
"Everyone had their own way of being nice to her. Like, we helped out with her. We sat next to her. We went over to her house," Masloroff said.
"The kids really, even when Kayla was in my class, they really just took to her -- and they would have conversations with her and she was non-verbal and they, you know, they didn't see that as an issue. The kids really learned how to give her choices, and she would look at whatever one she would want to with her eyes and really just showed us that we could push through anything. You would see those little goals that she would overcome and it was just so inspiring. The kids would cheer her on for those little things and understood that not all of us are working towards the same thing," Runte's first-grade teacher Amanda Mix said.
Students and volunteers are now working together in Runte's honor -- designing a special playground that will soon be built.
"This playground will be built so that any child, adult, person with disabilities or no disabilities will be able to use it. It'll be all inclusive for everyone," Mix said.
"I hope that everyone's idea does get into the playground somehow," Masloroff said.
Wille was accepting any and all ideas, even those that may not make it into the final design.
"You're not only building something for a small group, you're really celebrating the next generation," Wille said.
"Every little inch of this community has come together and it's really moving for a lot of us that have kind of seen it from beginning to end, just the support and what Kayla's story has brought to so many," Mix said.
"It would be really cool to see, if Kayla was still really with us, to see her face when the playground does get built," Masloroff said.
The idea for the playground came about by an organization founded by Runte's mother, called Kayla's Krew.
CLICK HERE to learn more about that organization.