‘Play is so important’: Powhatan couple to build playground for all abilities

Hannah and Brandon Setzer’s vision for Growing Inclusivity moves closer to reality
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 10:33 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2023 at 10:51 AM EST
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POWHATAN, Va. (WWBT) - A Powhatan power couple wants to bring play to everyone.

They’ve committed to building an inclusive playground at Independence Golf Course called Growing Inclusivity.

Hannah and Brandon Setzer want to build a playground where kids, parents, and anyone else with disabilities who wants to play has a place to do it.

“So the space pretty much starts at the corner of this building and it goes ... ” Hannah said, pointing out over the tree line.

It may be hard to envision, but when Hannah and Brandon look at this space behind the main building at Independence, they see potential, a beautiful space with swings that accommodate wheelchairs, ramps that allow anyone in, a sensory garden ... an inclusive place.

“So an adaptive entrance, it has to be a ramp from the side and front. And there’s a little stream that goes through,” Brandon explained.

They see a place where anyone can come be outside.

“Play is just so important,” said Hannah. “That obviously includes people with disabilities and adults. There are adults that have disabilities and kids that don’t have disabilities, and they deserve to play with their kids at the playground, too. So the world just needs to be more inclusive, and we want to help do that.”

Taking on a cause to support kids, play and inclusion comes naturally for Brandon and Hannah. They’ve fostered and adopted four growing boys. Hannah works as an advocate for people with disabilities. And you’ll find her on Instagram, talking about her own disabilities and inclusion.

“The nonsense people with disabilities have to deal with,” sighed Hannah. “Because I think that people in that world don’t always know what it’s like to be disabled and be in the world and hope for inclusion, and so I advocate professionally and personally all the time.”

Hannah and Brandon believe everyone should have access to play. Since there isn’t a nearby option, they’re determined to lead the charge to build it.

Hannah grew up with disabilities and says she didn’t meet someone who looked like her until she was 29.

“Being around people who don’t look like you is big,” said Hannah. “And that’s why this is important to us too. We want our kids to be exposed to and play with and learn with other kids that aren’t like them, too. "

The fundraising project is big. They’ll apply for grants and look for partners, but building this will cost millions.

“We just believe that it’s something to be done and we want to be a part of it,” said Hannah.

Independence wanted to be a part of the project and quickly agreed their site was perfect.

“I think this shows the community you can come here in any capacity,” said Laura Camp with Independence. “You can bring your kids to play in a playground that is for everyone. And I think it fits in perfectly for what our business is all about.”

So now, the work begins: Planning, finding equipment, and building support for this dream.

“We just believe it’s necessary for the community and the world to be more inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities, so we are doing everything we can to make it happen,” said Hannah.

Survey work will begin soon. They just signed the contract for that, which is the first step in the project.