Mia’s Dream Come True: All Abilities Playground

Daniel Vasquez and Emelyn Lacayo had an uncomplicated dream: The creation of an ultra-accessible and inclusive playground where their daughter Mia—and people of “all ages and abilities”—could play and enjoy the outdoors.

Clockwise from top-left: Daniel’s sketch; the playground under construction; the airplane and water tower; the entrance to the playground.

From the time she was born at just 33 weeks, Mia has been a fighter.  Weighing just over two pounds at birth, she spent 100 days in the NICU and left the hospital weighing just five pounds.  Facing a host of health issues, doctors told her parents she likely wouldn’t live to see her first birthday, but Mia defied the odds.

As she’s grown, she’s developed a love for visiting parks and enjoying the outdoors.  Since she is unable to walk, her parents used to take her to the nearest accessible playground in Palo Alto whenever possible.  Due to the distance, traffic, and Mia’s needs, a trip to this playground would often be an all-day excursion.

In 2016, when Mia was eight-years-old, Daniel was inspired to sketch a design for an accessible playground that would be a little closer to their home in Hayward.  After securing funds from the Make-a-Wish foundation to help make this playground a reality, Daniel and Emelyn approached the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District Foundation (HARD Foundation) for additional support.  With the foundation’s assistance, what had once been a humble sketch soon morphed into a formal set of plans.  Two years later, ground broke on the playground and it was completed in 2020.

Christened Mia’s Dream Come True: All Abilities Playground, the playground features play areas modeled after notable places in Hayward.  Among these are:

  • A firetruck donated by the Hayward Fire Department that has been refurbished into a wheelchair-accessible play structure
  • A large airplane structure for the Hayward Executive Airport that has a wheelchair-accessible swing set hanging from its wings
  • A water tower

As a complement to these accessible play structures,  the ADA-accessible paving material GraniteCrete is used throughout the playground.  We are thrilled to play a part in helping people of all ages and abilities enjoy this wonderful and inclusive playground for years to come.