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Ascend Cares Foundation unveils new sensory playground at Escambia Westgate School

The Ascend Cares Foundation, a nonprofit organization funded and led by employees of Ascend Performance Materials, announced today the funding, installation and opening of a new sensory playground at Escambia Westgate School.  

Ascend Cares has partnered with Escambia Westgate School, located in Pensacola, Florida, for six years. The school is dedicated to teaching children with physical and intellectual disabilities from kindergarten to 12th grade.  

“This is the largest single Ascend Cares project in the history of the foundation. It is fitting that it relates to two of our focus areas: children and education,” said Rachell Gold, director of the Ascend Cares Foundation. “The purchase and installation of the new playground was funded by foundation donations and our company matching program.”

Employees of Ascend Performance Materials’ Pensacola site worked as volunteers to dismantle the previous playground and prepare the site for the installation of the new sensory playground.

“Our previous playground did not meet the needs of the majority of our students,” said Jobenna Sellers, principal at Escambia Westgate School. “The new sensory playground is now fully accessible and will enhance our students’ functional and social development by providing increased exercise and outdoor activity.”

“I am so proud of the impact this project will have on the students’ lives, their school and their community,” said Sharhonda Owens, senior quality specialist for Ascend’s Pensacola site and the Ascend Cares playground project coordinator. “The playground was designed to meet the needs of every student at Escambia Westgate School. It has wheelchair-accessible swings, a sensory tunnel with cutouts and musical equipment.”

The previous playground at Escambia Westgate School was donated to another school in the community.