MCPHERSON, Kan. -

Sometimes it takes something or someone small to make big changes.

“We wanted to do something more on the charity side of things and we decided to do special needs, because we all have friends in our school that have disabilities,” student Avery Strathman said.

Last school year, seven McPherson fourth graders participated in an academic competition called Destination Imagination. Their project was to replace the worn safety mat at the Kids With Dreams Playground, so children with special needs could easily get onto the ramps connected to the playground. They had to raise $17,400 for repairs.

They did a fun run, garage sale and bake sale to raise money. They also asked local businesses for donations. The project ended in April before they had all the money, but the kids didn't stop.

“The point of the project was not did they reach the goal, it was what they learned in the process, but what they also learned in the process is we have to finish what we start,” Connie Brossard, team manager, said.

They collected more donations and obtained a McPherson Community Foundation grant, and finally raised the money they needed. They hope to start the project in August.

If others would still like to donate to the project, the group would like to put the safety cover on the entire slide or even add a handicap accessible swing.