Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Greenville Women Giving Awards Generous Funding to Assist with the Construction of a Wheelchair Accessible Nature Trail

Greenville County Schools Board of Trustees Chair Lisa Wells, Washington Center Principal Penny Rogers, Sara Collins Principal Melissa Burns and Washington Center parents and staff receive a $35,450 grant from Greenville Women Giving to create a handicapped-accessible nature trail.On May 16, Greenville Women Giving held its 10th Annual Meeting to award grant funding for their 2016 cycle.  Washington Center received $35,450 to assist with funding construction of an ADA compliant nature trail that is to be developed collaboratively with Sara Collins Elementary School next door.   This trail will provide accessible recreational areas as well as a venue for environmental instruction, and it will be available to the public during non-school hours.

“We at Washington Center are pleased and grateful to be chosen as a 2016 grant recipient,”
 said Dr. Penny Rogers, Principal of Washington Center. “As a result of this gift and those of others in the community, we will be able to develop an outdoor area for instruction and leisure activities for our students, many of whom are limited in their ability to access the environment, and for students served in both regular education and special education programs at Sara Collins.   We will also be able to partner with the community to share the trail during non-school hours and to work toward making the appearance of the area surrounding the school more attractive.”

The trail will consist of a 1/10 mile walkway, through a safe, wooded area directly behind the Washington Center building, and there will be trail connectors to both Washington Center and Sara Collins.    It will be 8 feet wide in order to allow two wheelchairs to pass each other on the trail, and railings will protect the safety of students who have gait difficulties or who utilize various types of mobility equipment.

 Along the trail there will be space for students to relax, to observe, to learn about the environment and to enjoy being outside.  QR codes that can be used with iPads will give students immediate access to specific information about trees and plants they encounter, and outdoor tables will be used for picnicking and special projects.  Additionally, students will be taught to care for and value the environment. 

About Washington Center:

Washington Center is a public school in Greenville County for students ages 3-21 who have severe intellectual and physical disabilities.  In many instances, these students are medically fragile and/or have communication challenges, and,  a few require intense behavioral support.   The curriculum  incorporates both functional and academic skills, and instruction is supported by physical, speech and occupational therapists. For information on Washington Center, please visit our website at

About Greenville Women Giving

Greenville Women Giving (GWG) granted $577,250 to twelve non-profit organizations at the annual meeting on May 16, 2016.  The grants supported nonprofits in the areas of arts and culture, education, health, human services, and environment and are a result of Greenville Women Giving’s work during its 10th anniversary year. The local organization has awarded more than $4.2 million over the course of its 10-year history. To learn more about GWG, visit:

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