ST. GEORGE — Members of the St. George Exchange Club presented an $8,000 donation to the City of St. George at a St. George City Council Meeting in support of the All Abilities Park — Hands That Built the Park project. In addition to this $8,000 contribution, members of the St. George Exchange Club are extending a challenge to other area service clubs, businesses and philanthropists to participate with them. Exchange Club members will match up to $15,000 to help sponsor area children so they can participate in this great project.
Hands That Built the Park is a project created by the City of St. George. It consists of a mosaic wall that weaves throughout the park, embedded with the handprints of children fired into a hardened tile. Each handprint will have the name of the child carved into the tile.
James McFadden, current St. George Exchange Club president, has been working with special needs children at Fossil Ridge Elementary as well as with children at Riverside Preschool, casting handprints to embed into the mosaic wall. The Exchange Club is sponsoring up to 1,000 children so they can have their handprints permanently cast into the wall. Matching funds are being requested so that as many area children as possible can have their handprints cast into the wall as well.
“Many families with special needs children are not in a position to cover the costs associated with this project,” McFadden said. “Nothing would be more exciting than to see every child who would like to participate have this opportunity. In order to reach this goal, we are prepared to match dollar-for-dollar contributions up to $15,000 which are made by any area service club, business or local citizen who would like to see as many children participate as possible.”
When the All Abilities Park opens later this year, admission will be free to enter the park.
The check presented by the Exchange Club at the City Council meeting matches the donation made last month by the Dixie Elks Lodge #1743.
About the St. George Exchange Club
The St. George Exchange Club has actively served Southern Utah for over 40 years with members who are local business owners, community leaders and volunteer citizens. Complementing the club is the St. George Exchange Club Foundation. Each year, club members are elected to preside over the Foundation Board, which is currently led by Jinks Dabney.
The St. George Exchange Club Foundation is a registered 501(c) 3 and manages all funds donated or raised by the club. Funds raised are returned to the community through various programs the St. George Exchange Club sponsors. In addition to the Southern Utah Performing Arts Festival (SUPAF), the St. George Exchange Club also sponsors and hosts the St. George Mayor’s Walk, Iron Kids Fun Run, Student of the Month Recognition, Freedom Shrine installations and dedications, the Give Me Liberty program which serves area 5th graders, and Give a Kid a Flag to Wave at the annual Veterans Day Parade in Washington City. The St. George Exchange Club, in cooperation with Dixie State University, also awards each area high school’s top graduating senior with First Year Tuition Grants. In 2015 the club contributed over $100,000 to help the City of St. George build the All Abilities Park, which is slated for dedication spring 2016.