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A Couple's Dream to Help Kids "Swing Higher" Becomes Reality--Mikayla Lewis

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The area surrounding East Nashville's Fred Douglas Park is home to nearly 500 children. Will Tyner says more than half of the families have an annual income of less than $25,000.

Jevon Branch grew up here, and lost his father when he was 7-years-old. The 9-year-old now says he felt, " Bad and sad."

While he was dealing with his loss two years ago, Will Tyner and his wife, Jamie started thinking about what kids, like Branch could gain.

Tyner says, "Started dreaming about what it would be like to start a non-profit , and we decided on playgrounds."

It took time before their non-profit, Swing Higher got off the ground. The last few months, they gained momentum with Cross Point Church, $65,000 in donations and more than 150 volunteers chipping in for their first playground.

Tyner says, "It's an awesome team of volunteers and God. he has provided for us in amazing ways. We always say that this is a calling.  we felt called to do this and he has orchestrated all the pieces to make it happen."

Saturday the group began the final build of the playground at Douglas Park. Jevon Branch got to cut the ribbon at the ceremony, made by he and his friends. Branch was chosen because of his own volunteerism.

There are a few finishing touches needed before the Metro Codes inspects and allows the playground to officially open. Once it is open, organizers say they are in for the long haul. Tyner says they are investing in the kids and area by sponsoring a Mid-State Sports League Soccer team. Along with the church, the group also meets every first Saturday to hang out with the neighborhood children at the park for "We Play Saturday." The day is open to anyone interested in participating and volunteering.

Will Tyner says, " So we'll continue to do things like that to make sure these kids move forward."   

The non-profit also inspired Metro Council members like 5th district councilman, Scott Davis to make it easier for others to do the same.

Davis says, "Create a bill where Private companies, churches and other organizations can invest in our children's futures here in the park."

Swing Higher says they hope to get started on their second playground by next Spring.

Click on the links highlighted for more information on how you can get involved.

Follow Mikayla Lewis on Twitter @MikaylaFox17 and Facebook


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