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Manasquan Will Build a Playground in Remembrance of Newtown Connecticut and Hurricane Sandy

(photo courtesy of Dana Connelly)

The playgrounds are being built in 26 towns in our state hard hit by the Superstorm, inspired by the senseless violence in Newtown, Connecticut.

The aim is to create 26 living memorials to all children who have been victims of violence while creating safe, fun places for children to be children. The hope is that these playgrounds will provide a symbol of hope, recovery and a return to normalcy…a gift to our youth in an effort to enhance and sustain their precious childhood.

Manasquan’s playground will be in honor of Olivia Rose Engel, who was 6-years-old when she left Sandy Hook Elementary school and joined the angels in Heaven on December 14, 2012. Olivia brought immediate joy to all those around her with her ever-present smile and adorably infectious giggle.

On any given afternoon you could find Olivia twirling in a pink tutu in dance class, kicking a soccer goal, drawing, painting and gluing things in art class, or singing in her community musical theater class. She also loved to join dad or grandpa on their boats.

Ever patient, Olivia took joy in helping her three-year-old brother Brayden explore the world. This Daisy Girl Scout would instantly light up a room with her humor, charm, and wit. She was a sweet and appreciative six-year-old with a lot to live for.Her loss is deeply felt every day by those who loved her most.

The playgrounds are built by volunteers, and donations are being accepted through Squan Strong. Check Manasquan downtown stores like The Chocolate Bar, Home Grown, Squan Dry Goods and Rare Cargo West to purchase t-shirts, chocolate-covered pretzel shovels, and more so that you can make a donation to the cause.

The actual playground will be built by police and fireman in our area (NJFMBA), with help needed for the surrounding plantings and beautification.

For more information, email Dana Connolly for information on how you can help or volunteer.

You can also make donations at (under dig it squan strong).


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