Presentation given at the quarterly luncheon of IMPOWER. One family can be the spark that ignites a fire to burn bright for good. Amanda Bakker, Vice President of Bakker Construction explains how her family brought together the Salinas community to build the fully inclusive community playground, Tatum’s Garden. Amanda’s story is about overcoming challenges to achieve miraculous good.
Tatum’s Garden Sponsors Honored
The Californian – February 5, 2015
Tatum Bakker, her mother Amanda Bakker and others watch as the IMPOWER Committee unveils a gala sponsor sign Wednesday at Tatum’s Garden. (Photo: Juan Villa/The Salinas Californian)
The IMPOWER Committee unveiled a gala sponsor sign Wednesday at Tatum’s Garden, thanks to last year’s “A Midsummer’s Garden Gala.”
The gala in August raised $50,000 for Tatum’s Garden in Salinas, a fully inclusive and accessible playground in Salinas. It is named after Tatum Bakker, a Salinas child with spina bifida.
“We went out into the community and asked businesses and individuals to sponsor and support us, and it wasn’t a hard sell,” said IMPOWER Committee co-chair Margaret D’Arrigo-Martin. “Everyone knew about Tatum’s Garden and wanted to be part of it so they gave generously”
IMPOWER, which stands for Inspire, Motivate, Prepare and Organize Women to Engage and Reinvest, is a project of the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re just really proud to be part of [Tatum’s Garden],” D’Arrigo-Martin added.
Wow…one year later, we truly have so much to be thankful for…we couldn’t do this without you, our amazing community of supporters! Thank you for loving and enjoying Tatum’s Garden!
Tatum Bakker suffers from spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. Her parents had the idea to create a playground accessible for all children.
Tatum is now 4 and the playground is turning 1 year old.
“Today is just a community celebration to thank all the heroes. We’ve got our superhero theme, all the heroes that made this place possible and all the hero volunteers who keep this place going now for a year,” Tatum’s mother and founder of the playground Amanda Bakker said.
Children decorated superhero masks and made bracelets, but many just wanted to play.
“I came here to play and I like to play at Tatum’s Garden,” 6-year-old Nick Rothman said.
For parents like Michael Rodriguez, whose 3-year-old son uses a walker, the playground is a gift.
“It’s great. When we want to play around, ‘Papa can we go to the park?’ This one, it’s just special. If he falls, it’s soft area. It’s just great for all the kids,” Rodriguez said.
The wide walkways and ramps are just a few of the ways Tatum’s Garden makes playing accessible for all children.
The playground is run solely by volunteers and donations.
“Well Tatum’s Garden is really just a place for kids to have fun and be outside,” Tatum’s sister Olivia Bakker said. “And especially with kids with disabilities who don’t get to play out at playgrounds, just for them to be able to have fun and be included.”