Comets Raise Funds, Awareness for Common Ground

Comets Raise Funds, Awareness for Common Ground
Posted on 02/01/2018
Comets Raise Funds, Awareness for Common Ground

Comets Raise Funds, Awareness for Common Ground Mason City Schools dad Adam Ayers has a wicked jump shot, a killer crossover, and his assists remind Deputy Superintendent Jonathan Cooper of Lakers legend, Magic Johnson. He’s been playing with the Cincinnati Royals, a professional wheelchair basketball team, since 2012 when he started the team and named it as an homage to Cincinnati’s former NBA team. On January 27, Ayers and his Cincinnati Royals took on Mason City Schools teachers and administrators in a game where the ultimate winners are the community's children.


"Adam is laser focused and super agile. He and the Cincinnati Royals were kind enough to lay back and take it easy on us!” Cooper shared about being part of the Mason teacher teams that took on the Cincinnati Royals.


The Comet community came out in force to watch Mason staff battle it out with the Cincinnati Royals in an epic game of basketball that ultimately raised $20,000 for the Common Ground Playground, an inclusive playground for children of all abilities.


Watch WCPO’s coverage


“A lot of people showed up and that just tells me the community is behind [the Common Ground Playground] and they believe in it as much as I do. It was great to introduce wheelchair basketball to the community, and it was so much fun playing against teachers and faculty. They were great sports and I think everyone had a blast. My kids especially had fun hanging out with their friends and watching their dad play against their teachers,” said Ayers. “I want everyone to know that diversity strengthens communities. That includes people with disabilities. We want the same things as any citizens in Mason; the opportunity to be out enjoying our lives, making friends, participating in activities, being involved in leadership, and that happens with universal design and inclusive mind sets.”


Between quarters, fans were treated to a Bhagra dance by Gajdi Jawani, an inclusive cheer and dance number by MHS cheerleaders and Mason students, and a half time challenge hosted by Cincinnati TopSoccer.


MHS senior and SIBS leader Delaney Turner organized the entire event after learning more about the Mason Parks and Recreation last spring.


“Last April, the Mason Parks and Recreation foundation invited SIBS to the parks board meeting to talk about fundraising ideas. We wanted a fun way to include the whole community. Mason Parks Board member offered Adam Ayers offered his team, the Cincinnati Royals, to play in a basketball game.  He suggested that his team play for people to come watch, and we thought of including teachers to get the whole community there,” explained Turner. “The two big things for me were delegation and communication.  There were a lot of moving parts to this event-- I had to communicate all of the steps to the Parks Foundation and the SIBS.  This wasn't something we've ever done before, it was just a matter of trying to see what would work and what wouldn't, and quickly adapting to changes.  I couldn't have done it without all of the help from SIBS, Lorri Fox-Allen, Cathy Crotty, Jeff Schlaeger, the Parks Foundation, and Adam Ayers.”


The Mason Early Childhood Center/Western Row Team was coached by Principal Eric Messer and teacher Libby Beck and players included: Molly Bernosky, Jamie Bunch, Jonathan Cooper, Tina Darling, Corri Doenecke, Heather Luebbenhusen, Katie Marzheuser, BJ Smallwood, Mike Steele, and Andy Wilson.


The Mason Intermediate School Team was coached by Principal Greg Sears and players included: Andrea Castner, Melissa Hornbeck, Marc Jurewics, Patti Mann, Leslie Molnar, Stephanie Poeppelman, Rob Polca, Katie Renners, Andrew Spaeth, and Steve Tabar.


The Mason Middle School Team was coached by Assistant Principal Lauren Gentene and players included: John Benham, Chad Layton, Danielle Peters, Jay Reutter, Lauren Richardson, Melissa Schuber, Lindsay Sweat, and Laura Tonkin.


The Mason High School Team was coached by Principal Dave Hyatt and players included: Marcie Blamer, Curt Bly, Randy Hubbard, Tina Leder, Carol Lehman, Gary Popovich, Katie Post, Vance Reid, and Bonnie White.


Common Ground is an inclusive playground designed to encourage children and adults of all levels and abilities to interact with each other. Common Ground is about much more than simply providing accessibility for children with physical disabilities. The playground's educational and interactive environment will be unlike any other in the region, going beyond the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act to promote complete social inclusion and cooperative play. Common Ground will be located on 23-acres near US 42 and Snider Road in Mason.

Learn more about the Common Ground Playground.


I first heard about [the Common Ground Playground]  when I was in second grade.  I participated in the Run, Walk, and Roll 5K's, but I didn't truly understand the purpose of the park back then.  Now that I have spent time and have close friendships with people with special needs, I have a better understanding of the need for this park and the recreational opportunities it will provide.  My dream is for Common Ground to be completed so anyone with or without a disability can go there and play and interact with any and all of their friends,” said Tuner.


Watch MBC’s coverage.

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